National and Regional Staff

Ruby W. Bridges
Senior Administrative Assistant

Ms. Ruby W. Bridges is the Senior Administrative Assistant at the CDF Marlboro County office in Bennettsville, South Carolina. She began working with the Children’s Defense Fund in May 2010. Ruby has a Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education from Ashford University in Clinton, Iowa and is currently pursuing a Masters of Education in Reading Literacy. From a young age Ruby began working with children and realized children would be the focus of her life. She is overjoyed to have the opportunity to advocate for children through the Children’s Defense Fund. She currently resides in Bennettsville, South Carolina.

Lovie Brock
Receptionist/Human Resources Assistant

Jennifer Butler
Database Manager

Janet Canada
Constituent Relations and Database Assistant, CDF Freedom Schools

Ms. Janet Canada is the Constituent Relations and Database Assistant for the Children’s Defense Fund Freedom Schools® program. She brings 20 years of experience working as a database and quality assurance specialist tracking and monitoring information to the CDF Freedom Schools department. Before coming to CDF, Janet worked for companies such as Fannie Mae, Home Funds Direct and Mortgage Dynamics. She is very active in her church and community and is currently a Trustee and Audio Visual Assistant at New Birth Christian Church. Janet has been with CDF since 2006 and has worked in various roles with responsibilities to assist in the vision and mission of CDF.

Dr. Yoonjung Park
Director of Education Research and Analysis, CDF Freedom Schools

Dr. Yoonjung Park joined the Children’s Defense Fund Freedom Schools ® program as a Research Statistician for Assessment and Evaluation in February 2012. Dr. Park earned her doctorate degree in Human Development and Quantitative Methodology from University of Maryland and conducted research about children’s social and moral development at National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, NIH. Her research areas include children’s development of concepts about stereotypes and fairness in areas of gender and ethnicity. One of Dr. Park’s most recent consulting projects with Dr. Melanie Killen, University of Maryland, investigated children’s perception of different races and was featured on CNN in a special edition of Anderson Cooper 360 entitled, “Kids on Race”. Currently, Dr. Park serves as the Director of Education Research and Analysis for the CDF Freedom Schools program.

Shaquite Lynee Pegues
Director of Ella Baker Leadership Development

Ms. Shaquite Lynee Pegues is the Director of Ella Baker Leadership Development for the CDF Freedom Schools® program. Shaquite is 28 yrs old and lives in her hometown of Bennettsville, South Carolina. She has been a part of the Children’s Defense Fund’s staff for four years and looks forward to continuing her work in the years to come Shaquite is a certified teacher and taught for two years as a third grade teacher at Sweetwater Elementary School, in Lithia Springs, GA. She is also certified to teach English Speakers of Other Languages students. Shaquite is a 2002 Honor Graduate of Marlboro County High School and a 2006 Honor Graduate of the historically black Spelman College, where she majored in Child Development. She also participated in the distinguished Spelman College Glee Club and held several other leadership positions during her collegiate tenure. Shaquite is continuing her education at Nova Southeastern University, where she will obtain her Masters Degree in Management and Administration of Educational Programs. Shaquite has been a part of the CDF Freedom Schools movement for many years. She was a CDF Freedom Schools scholar in her younger days and has continued her service through the program as a Leadership Student, Servant Leader Intern, Ella Baker Trainer, Site Coordinator, and Project Director for the Marlboro County Partners CDF Freedom Schools sites South Carolina. She is a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, NAACP, Spelman College Pee Dee Region Alumnae Chapter, Young Professionals of Marlboro County, and Leadership Bennettsville.

Philippa Smithey
Senior Education Grants Specialist