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Contributing to a better world.

Steve has had an exemplary career in education. He recently completed five years at Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) retiring as Vice President of Students. He was previously Director of Transformative Educational Leadership and Professor of Teaching at UBC, where he founded TELP, the Transformative Educational Leadership Program. Prior to this, Steve was the Superintendent and CEO for five plus years with the Vancouver School Board and before this the Superintendent for the Delta School Board. He holds a doctorate in Educational Leadership from SFU and an MA and BSc from UBC.

Steve has served as President of the BC School Superintendents' Association (BCSSA) as well as an appointment to the BC Council for International Education (BCCIE).  He has served as President of the BC Science Teachers’ Association (BCScTA) and more recently as a Director on the Science World Board and a founding member of the Symbiosis Steering Committee.

Early in his career, Steve served as President and Bargaining Chair for his local teachers' union and also served on the BCTF provincial Bargaining Committee and Women in Negotiations sub-committee.

Steve has served for two terms on the BC Council on Admissions and Transfer (BCCAT) and was Vice Chair for the Senior Academic Administrators’ Forum (SAAF). He also completed two terms on the Editorial Board and Council for the pan-Canadian EdCan Network (previously CEA).

In 2021, Steve completed his term as President of the Board with Learning Forward, a 15,000-member teaching and learning organization.

Steve is currently Chairperson of the Institute for Public Education (IPE/BC), an advisory member of the Quantum Algorithms Institute (QAI) PD committee, and an active council member of TECC, a subsidiary of ASTTBC.

At KPU, Steve was the lead person responsible for the Indigenous Advisory Committee and Indigenous efforts at the university. He served as an advisory member on the Supports for Success mentoring initiative for former youth-in-care, and represented KPU at the Surrey Urban Indigenous Leadership Council (SUILC) and the Surrey Poverty Reduction Coalition (SPRC).

On retirement from KPU in September 2022, the KPU Foundation honoured Steve by creating the Steve Cardwell bursary to support marginalized students, especially Indigenous and former youth in care.

Steve was awarded the Queen's Diamond Jubilee medal in 2013 for his outstanding service to public education. In 2015, he received the Distinguished Service Award from the BCSSA and was selected as one of UBC Faculty of Education’s top 100 Alumni.

Steve is known for his valuing of ethical leadership and responsibility, building and fostering strong working relationships, leading with empathy and demonstrating exemplary communication skills. ​

Steve grew up in rural British Columbia in a small town in the West Kootenays. He taught high school for ten years in northern BC before moving to the lower mainland.

Steve and his wife live part time on Parker Island and part time in downtown Vancouver. They have two children who attended the public education system throughout their schooling. His wife is a former high school counsellor and lead district educator for alternate programs in the public system. Their daughter is an associate director at a local university working in philanthropic gift giving focussing on rural medical doctors and the needs of their communities. Their son has just completed law school (with honours) in London, England.


I acknowledge my privilege and place in society. I reside part time on Parker Island and part time in Coal Harbour, Vancouver. I acknowledge that I am unlearning and relearning on the Unceded and Traditional Territories of the Coast Salish Nations. I am committed to engaging in ongoing acts of reconciliation.


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