Renada Chandler, Board Chair and Treasurer is the Founder of Smart Kids, Inc., Renada is an alumnus of the University of Missouri St. Louis. She knows and understands the importance of a good education. As a former Substitute Teacher for the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, she knew from early in her career that she wanted to help meet the needs of K-12 grade students in her community and other surrounding areas through 1:1 and small group tutoring/mentoring services.
In 2013, she founded Smart Kids, Inc., a public 501(c) that provides 1:1/ small group tutoring and mentoring services to students that are living and attending school in low-to-moderate income demographic areas within the Greater St. Louis Metropolitan Area. She understands the needs of the neighborhood children which she serves through Smart Kids, Inc. by ensuring that they got the academic services/resources that they need.
Sonia Heard, Vice President has been making a positive impact for over 18 years at Washington University School of Medicine, where she provides patient services support to the pediatrics team. She is a St. Louis native who is passionate about serving the community in the medical field. She is dedicated to her current role as Vice President of the board at Smart Kids Inc., since the inception of the organization in 2013. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, cooking, and shopping
Valerie Elizabeth Young is a loving mother of two, a proud military veteran, a talented poet, an aspiring writer, and a servant leader in her community. A St. Louis native, she is passionate about personal growth and development, loves expressing herself through poetry, and considers everything a life-learning lesson. Her educational background includes a Bachelor’s in Sociology and a minor in Criminal Justice at SIU Edwardsville; an Associate’s from ITT in Criminology and Forensic Technology, graduating with honors as valedictorian; and a Master’s in Criminal Justice Administration from Lindenwood University. Valerie joined the board of Smart Kids, because of her passion for outreach in the community. She can relate to many as a mother and enjoys using her experience to guide our youth to a fulfilling and rewarding future. Her greatest desire is to create a legacy that will equip, encourage, and inspire her children, and her children’s children to live their lives in ways that add value to themselves as well as others.
I’m Mrs. Gracie. A woman who is full of life, love, and laughter. A loving wife to Ricardo. A proud mother of four Ahmir (21), Ahriel (17),
Ahlea (12) and Ahyva (7) and my bonus daughter Hayli (15). Born
and raised in St Louis, Missouri growing up was an adventure with
many challenges. As a young child, I saw that life can change fast
without any warnings. I understood early that there is a co-
relationship between character traits and life skills. Life could be
hard but why? I grew inquisitive. I started asking direct questions.
I wanted to know. I started to listen. I learned to care for others
during their times of need. Everybody will need somebody one
day. In search of why, I naturally gravitated to nursing, psychology
and pediatrics. I strive to help build strong scholars, families, and
communities. Smart Kids wanted to know why too?
LaShonda Hubert is an East St. Louis native with over 15 years of Education, Restorative
Counseling, and Non-Profit Youth Development experience. LaShonda holds an undergraduate
(BS) degree and her Master’s (MEd) in Education. She is currently a Doctoral candidate
preparing to defend her Higher Education Administration dissertation in December of 2023.
LaShonda is also a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated’s St. Louis Alumnae
Chapter, where she continues her volunteerism as an advocate for the education of young people.
LaShonda currently serves as Area Director with Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater St. Louis, where
she oversees all Clubs within the St. Louis City Operations and manages funding that support
youth academics, character education, and healthy lifestyles for children. LaShonda
enthusiastically joins the Smart Kids Inc. Board of Directors to further the mission to increase
the learning capacity of every student, by helping them realize their full potential.
Linda Anderson is a Student Recruitment & Outreach Coordinator with Confluence Academies. Her energy is contagious as she cultivates relationships with the community, universities, and non-profit agencies to assist the mission of providing the necessary tools for students to achieve success. As a former teacher at Jennings School District and St. Louis Public School District, Mrs. Anderson understands the importance the community has on public education and is driven to provide appropriate resources to families; eliminating barriers that exist due to zip codes!
Linda Anderson has been a true advocate for education in the urban community. She has built processes to develop pathways for non-certified staff to obtain certification (specifically trained to serve in an urban setting) and continues to set high expectations from all stakeholders of education. Mrs. Anderson has assisted leaders with several partnerships to build programs focused and aimed at student achievement and engagement, using data to analyze and evaluate the effectiveness of the programs. Her passion, drive, and grit are unmeasurable as she pushes to advocate for the community and its promise to educate our youth equitably.
Currently, Mrs. Anderson serves in the role of Student Recruitment and Community Outreach Coordinator for Confluence Academies. While in this role she has gained effective partnerships that will impact student attendance, parent engagement, student enrichment and bring community resources to families. She continues her vision of revitalizing North St. Louis city and is currently pursuing her master’s in public policy administration with an emphasis in non-profit through UMSL’s MPPA program.
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DIVERSITY, EQUITY, INCLUSION
Smart Kids, Inc. engages with a lot of students, volunteers, and staff members of different ethnic groups. It is with great understanding that all participants recognize the importance of working side by side with people from different backgrounds. Our team deals with diversity everyday in the workplace, when providing our program services to students with the Greater St. Louis region. We make it a priority to discuss, implement, and practice the importance of policies and procedures of diversity training. We never want to make feel uncomfortable when participating in our organization.
Being that we all come from different backgrounds at Smart Kids, Inc., it is understood that we have great equity at all times. One of our first priorities is to treat everyone with respect and dignity. We also provide the same opportunities to enhance the student’s educational growth.
As an organization that deals with a lot of diverse students with different backgrounds, we want everyone to feel comfortable and for them to be themselves. It is already hard for students to seem perfect with social media telling them what is perfect and what it not. That is not our environment and we strive to make it a better experience when participating in our programs. We have all walks of life that we work hand in hand with and we aim for them to be their full selves. Being yourselves and being comfortable here at Smart Kids, Inc. makes it easier for you to be successful and really learn what you need better through our tutoring sessions.
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