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Juanita Dean Holley was born in Grand Prairie, Texas (a small town near Dallas) and was raised by faithful Christian parents. When Juanita was ten years old, she and her eleven siblings moved to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Her parents felt the family could secure better educational opportunities there. Ms. Holley was raised in a low-income environment, but is quick to say she didn't know they were poor until she became an adult and reflected back on her childhood.

Photo of Juanita Holley with her husband, KevinAfter graduating from Central High School, Ms. Holley received her Bachelorís Degree in Political Science from Oklahoma City University, a private school affiliated with the United Methodist Church. She also earned Certified Mediator credentials, specializing in faith-based and racial/ethical conflicts.

She married husband, Kevin, while each pursued careers in the Oklahoma public sector. As Kevin continued his education toward his theological degree from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, Juanita resigned from employment with the Oklahoma Supreme Court Administrative Office to join her husband in Texas. Upon his graduation, the couple accepted a call to ministry at the First Presbyterian Church of Kalamazoo, Michigan, in 2000. They have one daughter and three grandchildren, residing in California.

By serving as Director of Special Olympics for Kalamazoo County, Juanita resumed her professional career in Kalamazoo. She also served as a substitute teacher in the Kalamazoo Public School system. Next she accepted employment from the State of Michigan as a Legislative Assistant to State Representative Robert B. Jones. There she served as Executive Director for his District Office. She also worked for now-judge Alexander Lipsey in the same capacity.

Photos of Juanita Holley with her husband, Kevin, having a laughMs. Holley's professional career reflects a strong and personal commitment to working with the most vulnerable in our society, with special interest in causes associated with social justice and human rights. Since starting a professional career, she has dedicated herself to issues of social justice, women's rights, and serving those that live on the margins of our society.

As Director of the 60th District Service Office she worked with the homeless, hungry, and hurting citizens from the area. She also worked to keep the community updated on pending legislation, educational state publications, coordinating free tax service, fundraising, and serving as an ombudsman responding to constituent's emergencies.

Juanita finds it particularly rewarding to network on behalf of those constituents having difficulty finding gainful employment. She believes we have a responsibility to help those in need of assistance in networking, sharing leads, and doing whatever it takes to help others find gainful employment.

Photo of Juanita Holley with her daughter, Kenya Along the way Juanita served on the Presbytery of Lake Michigan Leadership Team, Mediation Task Force, Self Development of People committee, and was the Hunger Action/Peace Enabler for the Presbytery. She has served on the Committee on Ministry (COM) for the Indian Nations Presbytery (Oklahoma) and, presently, serves on the COM for the Presbytery of Chicago. Juanita has lectured on mediation for the Synod of the Covenant and served two terms on the Presbyterian Hunger Program for the PC (USA). She has devoted much of her life to working with the most vulnerable in our society.

Juanita Holley has a strong political background spanning over twenty-five years as a fundraiser, campaign organizer/analyst, and has served at the national level in Washington, D.C. She holds a certification from the Oklahoma Supreme Court in Dispute Mediation and Conflict Resolution. She has directed this skill toward conflict management in faith-based communities and finds this work to be extremely rewarding. She was selected as the only non-lawyer to be placed on a mediation panel for the 9th Circuit District Court, together with service on the Lake Michigan Presbytery.

Husband, Kevin was recently installed as Pastor at Hope Presbyterian Church in Wheaton, Illinois, and Juanita is employed as Consultant for Justice Ministries with the Presbytery of Chicago. Juanita also enjoys poetry and songwriting (see her blog page), and playing her guitar.

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