Greetings from Principal Iliana

Iliana - Principal at HLAWelcome to the 2019-2020 school year!

I was born in Traverse City, Michigan 40 years ago. My father, a native of Mexico, and my mother, a native of Texas, migrated every summer to work as migrant workers harvesting cherries, strawberries, and apples in the beautiful fields of Traverse City and surrounding areas.
As you can imagine, I learned the value of hard work from first-hand experience. When the harvest season would come to an end, my parents, sisters, and I would make the 28-hour trek back to Brownsville, Texas. We traveled by car, and these adventures amounted to be some of the best experiences I hold close to my heart, I hope to never, ever forget.
I grew up in a bilingual home speaking Spanglish, watching Saved by the Bell, Family Matters, and Full House. In the summer of 1995, after the harvest season, my parents decided to test the waters of Holland, MI. I started my junior year at Holland High School, where I graduated in 1997. Although growing up post high school education was never a topic of conversation, nevertheless, my father (a third-grade dropout) and my mother, a high school graduate, taught me essential traits that were my driving force to pursuing post-high school education.
I subsequently enrolled at Grand Rapids Community College where I earned an Associates Degree, transferred to Grand Valley State University, earned a Bachelors of Art, Spanish Secondary Education and a Bachelors of Movement Science, Physical Education K-12. Lastly, I earned both a Masters Degree in Educational Leadership and Administrative Certificate also from GVSU.
I firmly believe that the circumstances you’re born into shouldn’t dictate your chances for success. To me, there is nothing more personally and professionally fulfilling than when the product of my work is a child’s academic and social growth.
In addition, I believe that my background as a teacher and my ongoing role as a parent not only enables me to understand and meet the needs of both teachers, and parents but ultimately allows me to serve the students and children of our community. My passion has always been and will be educating children.
I look forward to continuing to work in partnership with you as we serve the children in Holland Language Academy.
Feel free to email me at