Program Leadership Staff
Dr. Candace Smith—Principal, Holy Family School
Dr. Candace Smith joined Holy Family in 2018 to lead the educational team at the school. Former Principal and Current CEO Cheryl Collins stated, “Candace brings a great deal of experience to our school regarding curriculum, teacher development and student improvement. She also brings heart to our school. She is a woman of faith and believes that her purpose is to serve children and families from underserved neighborhoods.”
Dr. Smith came to Holy Family with fourteen years of experience, the most recent as Assistant Principal at the Lansing School District. She received her doctorate from Lewis University in 2018.
Sheila Collier—Assistant Principal, Holy Family School
Ms. Collier holds a Master’s Degree in Instruction and Curriculum and a BS in Early Childhood with a minor in Psychology. In 2008 she joined Holy Family as a lead pre-school teacher, and in 2010 was promoted to the Program Director of Little Learners Academy. In 2012 she was named Assistant Principal of Holy Family School.
Deana Spencer—Director of Early Learning & Policy (Little Learners Academy)
Mrs. Spencer is the Director of Early Learning & Policy and oversees The Little Learners Academy. She holds a Master's degree in Early Childhood Development. Her purpose and passion lies in urban education and has been involved in early childhood educational policy round tables, to bring social change to the most underserved communities in Chicago. She has experience in educational administration and non-profit management and was selected as one of five of the 2013-15 Erikson Institute's Illinois Early Childhood Policy Fellows (a diversity-driven program that prepares young leaders to strengthen the field of early childhood policy and systems building in Illinois).
Adrienne Hunter—Director, Adventures in Learning
Mrs. Hunter graduated with an MBA from Keller Graduate School of Management and a BS from Chicago State University. She worked for twenty years as a substitute teacher with the Chicago Board of Education. Prior to managing the Adventures in Learning program at Holy Family, she was an adjunct faculty member at Moraine Valley Community College for seven years, where she also served as a site facilitator providing instructional support and services for students and staff.
Henry Cervantes—Manager, The Peace Exchange
Henry Cervantes is a well-known community organizer and peace activist. As chief instructor for Holy Family Ministries’ Peace Exchange’s Speaking Peace program, he is a familiar face in elementary school classrooms across Chicago. Henry has worked for Marquette University Center for Peacemaking, developing curriculum as well as serving as adjunct faculty for North Park Theological Seminary School of Restorative Arts, teaching incarcerated individuals. He is one of 40 Human Rights Champions featured in the permanent exhibition “Take A Stand Center” at the Illinois Holocaust Museum. Visit The Peace Exchange website.
Rev. Ronald Martin—Education Recruiter and 8th Grade Counselor
Rev. Ronald Martin attended Brother Rice High School, and graduated with a B.A. from Northern Illinois University. Rev. Martin joined Holy Family in 2017. Rev. Martin currently serves as the Senior Pastor of Trinity Community Baptist Church, and he previously worked for Westside Health Authority as the Director of the Youth Department.