Leadership

Leadership

Learn more about the Leadership Team at NLCP

Jemia Cunningham-Elder, Interim CEO

Jemia Cunningham-Elder is one of the interim co-leaders of NLCP, serving as Interim CEO alongside Erin Simunovic as Interim President. Born and raised in Chicago, Ms. Cunningham-Elder became passionate about education during college when she was exposed to slave narratives and other influential texts such as the autobiographies of Frederick Douglas and Malcolm X. Learning about the power of education, especially in the Black community, inspired her to dedicate her career to making positive change through supporting the education of others. With this in mind, she entered the field of education over a decade ago serving as the Manager of Student Recruitment and Retention at Phoenix Charter Academy. Ms. Cunningham-Elder has since gone on to work in development at two higher education institutions – Boston College and the University of Chicago – as well as serving as the Director of Programs and Development at the Prospect Hill Community Center. These experiences cemented her passion for education and inspired her to return back to a school setting. She began her time at NLCP as the Director of External Affairs and in this role she dedicated herself to growing and strengthening NLCP’s community partnerships and supporting the success of NLCP alumni. This June, Ms. Cunningham-Elder was selected to step into the interim CEO position, bringing with her deep love for Chicago, as well as her expertise in development, education, and leadership. She is a graduate of Lake Forest College and holds a master’s degree in Leadership and Organizational Development from Boston College and a certificate in Nonprofit Management. 

Erin Simunovic, Interim President

Erin Simunovic is one of the interim co-leaders of NLCP, serving as Interim President alongside Jemia Cunningham-Elder as Interim CEO. Ms. Simunovic grew up in central Illinois and was drawn to education while taking her first education course during college. She joined Teach for America directly after graduating and was inspired by the organization’s mission and the commitment of leaders and mentors in the Milwaukee TFA corps. While her early career was spent in Wisconsin, where she began as a teacher and went on to coach and write curriculum, she moved to Chicago in 2011 and has spent the remainder of her career supporting students across the city. During her time in Chicago, Ms. Simunovic has served as a classroom educator and an instructional coach, and taken on various positions in school leadership, working at Johnson College Prep (a campus of the Noble Network of Charter Schools), Relay Graduate School of Education, and Civitas Education Partners. Her tenure at NLCP began in 2017 and she has served as both the Director of Academics and Chief of Staff, leading efforts to redesign NLCP’s curriculum and assessment practices, managing hiring, and supporting NLCP’s principals and leadership team. She was appointed as Interim President in June in recognition of her legacy of impact and leadership at NLCP. Ms. Simunovic is a graduate of Lake Forest College and holds a Master of Education in Secondary Education from Marquette University.

NLCP’s Christiana Campus is led by Principal Kyera Bradley

Kyera D. Bradley began her educational career over eight years ago at the Noble Network of Charter Schools (Johnson College Prep) as a 9th grade Biology instructor. There she earned numerous awards for student academic growth, breaking historic in interim assessment data as well as being published in The Atlantic as a thriving teacher in urban education. Chicago native, Kyera attended Providence St. Mel High School then went on to earn her Bachelor of Science in Biology from Howard University. Because of her love for learning, she returned to Chicago and earned her Master of Arts in Education from the Relay Graduate School of Education (Founding Class). 

Deeply rooted in strong academic programming, it is her hope to provide rigorous instruction that forces scholars to be the drivers of their learning. Her vision is to create transformational impact through coaching leaders (in traditionally disenfranchised schools) to drive academic achievement for all scholars by leveraging efficacy, relationships, high expectations, instructional coaching, rigorous instruction, data systems, and shared accountability.

Being with North Lawndale College Prep for four years, Kyera is committed to ensuring that scholars either “find a way or make one”.

NLCP’s Collins Campus is led by Principal Deion M. Owens.

Deion M. Owens is entering his 3rd year at NLCP. Prior to moving into administration, Deion served as the 11th grade English teacher at NLCP. From the south side Roseland community, Deion was a student in CPS from K-12, going to Lindblom (SWOOP!) in Chicago’s Englewood community, where he was awarded the Golden Apple Scholarship, and then went to Roosevelt University where he majored in English, Sociology, and Secondary Education. In education, Deion hopes to provide rigorous instruction coupled with sociological awareness, for he knows the cost of further neglecting the students of whom deserve the best education. Deion is currently completing a master’s at Concordia University in Educational Leadership with hopes of continuing to assist NLCP in becoming a leading charter network in its advancement and restructuring of education on the west side of Chicago. Concurrently, Deion is completing an additional master’s program at The University of Chicago in Social Sector Leadership and Nonprofit Management. Deion truly believes that education can alter one’s life and trajectory, and it is because of this that he continues to push students and teachers to think through a transformative lens. In his spare time, Deion enjoys brunching, reading, traveling, playing volleyball, and being around his boisterous, large family – he’s one of 11 children and has 6 nieces and 4 nephews. 


As a public charter school, NLCP is tuition-free – there is no admittance fee or entrance exam to enroll at our schools. We are open to all students regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status or disability status, and are an equal opportunity employer.