By Regennia N. Williams, PhD
To say that Dr. Shirley Smith Seaton is “Famous in the Neighborhood and Beyond” would be an understatement. However, that is how members of the African American Archives Auxiliary (AAAA or Quad A) of the Western Reserve Historical Society (WRHS) described her in 2015. Today, there is abundant evidence to suggest that this Cleveland, Ohio native, long-time resident of the city’s Fairfax neighborhood, and award-winning educator and administrator is even more “famous” now than she was in the past.
Dr. Seaton is a product of the Cleveland Public Schools. She holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in history from Howard University, a graduate degree in education from Case Western Reserve University, a doctorate in education from the University of Akron, and a certificate in Chinese history and culture from Beijing Normal University. Dr. Seaton served as an instructor and administrator at the K-12 and post-secondary levels, and she was the Director of Social Studies for the Cleveland Public Schools. Through her work with Cleveland’s WEWS and WVIZ television stations, parents, students, and teachers throughout the region also benefitted from her distance learning activities.
As a Fulbright alumna, philanthropist, and member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and the Coalition of 100 Black Women (Greater Cleveland), Inc., she mentored and helped dozens of students and emerging scholars achieve their educational and career goals, and she supported family members as a wife, mother, and grandmother. Dr. Seaton is a former WRHS board member and a former Quad A trustee.
Aplin, Norita, Shirley Seaton, Juanita Storey. The Negro American: His Role, His Quest. Cleveland: Cleveland Public Schools, 1968.
African American Archives Auxiliary of the Western Reserve Historical Society. Printed
Program for “Famous in the Neighborhood and Beyond,” Saturday, September 19, 2015. Personal Archives of Regennia N. Williams.
Ross, Lawrence C. The Divine Nine: The History of African American Fraternities and Sororities. New York: Dafina, 2019.
Seaton, Shirley Smith. “A Study of Rapport among Elementary Teachers Reassigned and Not Reassigned to Meet Court-Ordered Desegregation in the Public Schools of Cleveland, Ohio.” EdD diss. University of Akron, 1981.