Native News Network Staff in Native Currents. Discussion »
OKLAHOMA CITY At this past week's National Indian Education Association Convention, new President Dr. Heather Shotton reminded members about the importance of the association's mission to advance excellent education for all Native students.
Dr. Heather Shotton Wichita/ Kiowa/Cheyenne
An Assistant Professor of Native American Studies at University of Oklahoma, Dr. Shotton succeeds Quinton Roman Nose as head of the nation's leading advocate for American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian students. A member of the Wichita, Kiowa, and Cheyenne tribes, she brings her passion for improving Native access to higher education, as well as her vision for ensuring that all students get a high-quality culturally based education. Elected to the board two years ago, Dr. Shotton previously served as NIEA's President-Elect.
In her speech at the convention, Dr. Shotton called on NIEA members to galvanize their colleagues, community members, and others to build a future in which "all Native students will get a high-quality teacher who is subject-matter competent, culturally responsive, and is compassionate to our children," as well as be able to both take Advanced Placement courses and immersion courses in their own languages.
“We know all too well the challenges facing our students. But, through the collective knowledge of our membership we also know the solutions,”
declared Dr. Shotton
Shotton takes on her new role just as NIEA approves a series of changes to further its mission. This includes the approval of a new mission statement which declares that NIEA: "advances comprehensive educational opportunities for American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians throughout the United States." The new mission statement comes after a year of successes on the legislative and public policy front, including the launch of the State-Tribal Education Partnership (STEP) pilot program, a federal competitive that aims to help tribes build the capacity to shape the education their children receive.
Last month, as part of the program's first round, the US Department of Education granted $2 million to four tribes - Chickasaw Nation, Navajo Nation Diné Department of Education, Nez Perce Tribe, and Confederated Tribes of Umatilla Indian Reservation.
Succeeding Dr. Shotton as President-Elect is Pamela Agoyo, who was elected to the board last year for a three year term ending in 2014. The Director of Native Student Services at the University of New Mexico, Agoyo will ascend to the NIEA presidency next year.
Also, NIEA members chose three General Board and two Student Board members to help lead the association; they join Shotton, Agoyo and five other leading educators and advocates. The new board members include:
A video of a portion of Dr. Shotton's speech is available here
posted October 29, 2012 7:50 am edt