All Press Releases for April 30, 2024

Marquis Who's Who Honors Sylvia Smith for Expertise in Education and Nonprofit Administration

Sylvia Smith is lauded for her expertise in educational leadership as the executive director of Giant Steps Illinois, Inc.

She has been instrumental in setting standards and curricula for students, staff, and faculty, ranging from academic to practical aspects of the organization.

    AURORA, IL, April 30, 2024 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Sylvia R. Cadena Smith, Ed.D., has been recognized for inclusion in Marquis Who's Who. As in all Marquis Who's Who biographical volumes, individuals profiled are selected based on current reference value. Factors such as position, noteworthy accomplishments, visibility, and prominence in a field are all considered during the selection process.

Dr. Smith has made significant strides in her career, most notably as the executive director of the nonprofit organization Giant Steps IL since 2016. In this role, she has been instrumental in setting standards and curricula for students, staff, and faculty, ranging from academic to practical aspects of the organization. Dr. Smith's leadership ensures the program's direction is clear and its implementation stays on track.

Giants Steps Day School was founded in 1997 to provide education, therapeutic, vocational, and recreational programs for students with autism spectrum disorders up to age 22, their families, and the community. During her tenure at Giant Steps Illinois, Inc., Dr. Smith led a dedicated team of professionals to open the Canopy Adult Program to address the growing needs of the autism community, specifically young adults aged 22 and older. The program aims to empower these young adults with a continuous learning process, prevent regression, and foster progress.

Prior to her current leadership position at Giant Steps Illinois, Inc., Dr. Smith founded CadenaSmith Enterprises in 2006, where she leverages her expertise in performance leadership, relationship building, team building, and curriculum and development to create instructional design and project management standards. She has also been instrumental in grant writing and presenting at professional conferences. Moreover, Dr. Smith developed and garnered a U.S. patent for See-N-Read® Reading Tools, brought it to market in 2006, and developed a software version for personal computers. The See-N-Read® Reading Tools was recognized with a Blue Ribbon Award in 2011 for its success by The Old School House Publications and is presently being utilized in all 50 states and seven foreign countries.

Dr. Smith's career in educational technology and curriculum development began at McGill Digital Solutions in Windsor, Canada, where she served as the chief learning officer and executive vice president from 1998 to 2014. During her tenure there, she established the standards and processes the McGill design team used to create effective user interfaces for several online programs, significantly contributing to the company's growth and reputation in digital solutions. During an earlier stage of her career, Dr. Smith taught three years of special education for grades 1 to 4. Additionally, she served as a graduate-level instructor of instructional design at Benedictine University. In this role, she played a key part in developing a reading master's program and an administrative master's degree program on campus.

Dr. Smith's academic background has been a cornerstone of her success. She holds a Bachelor of Science in special education and teaching from the University of Texas at Austin since 1972. She also received a Master of Science in curriculum and supervision in 1992 and a Doctor of Education in instructional technology/design and adult learning in 1996 from Northern Illinois University.

Complementing her professional journey, Dr. Smith has been active with several industry-related organizations, such as the Illinois Association of Private Special Education Centers, the Institute on Public Policy for People with Disabilities, and the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. These memberships have enabled her to stay abreast of industry trends and contribute to policy and curriculum development discussions. Dr. Smith has published over eighteen articles in teaching and learning journals. The topics for the articles focused on quantifying qualitative classroom data, learning differences, visual and auditory processing, performance-based assessment, and the unconventional learner hidden in plain sight in the classroom. Additionally, Dr. Smith became a board member of Giant Steps IL in 1999, where she remains active today. Besides these affiliations, Dr. Smith is the author of an English as a second language certification program.

Anticipating continued growth in the needs of the autism community, Dr. Smith is focused on expanding the services of Giant Steps Illinois, Inc. by constructing a new facility for the Canopy Adult Program. Her vision includes strengthening the vocational training program to ensure students with autism are well-equipped with the necessary skills for workforce success upon their graduation and thereafter.

About Marquis Who's Who®:
Since 1899, when A. N. Marquis printed the First Edition of Who's Who in America®, Marquis Who's Who® has chronicled the lives of the most accomplished individuals and innovators from every significant field of endeavor, including politics, business, medicine, law, education, art, religion and entertainment. Marquis celebrates its 125th anniversary in 2023, and Who's Who in America® remains an essential biographical source for thousands of researchers, journalists, librarians and executive search firms around the world. Marquis® publications may be visited at the official Marquis Who's Who® website at

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