TUBA CITY -- As of last month, Edward Tuchawena, former TC High Warrior from 1966 and a member of the Hopi Tribe, became the new director for Tuba City Alternative High School.
Tuchawena was the assistant principal at TC Junior High School and has been an education administrator for the past 20 years. After serving in the military, including a stint in the Vietnam War, he returned back home to Arizona to start course work in elementary education and education administration.
Tuchawena has a degree in elementary education from Northern Arizona University and a master's degree in elementary education and education administration also from NAU.
Tuba City Alternative High School has been in operation for seven years and is the only northern Arizona reservation alternative school that is authorized by the Arizona Department of Education to give its own graduation diplomas after completing course work of 21 credits.
Utilizing the Nova Net system, which is based out of University of Illinois, TCAHS has been able to combine both Native American cultural and social support along with high-tech, self motivated academic regime, which has been the secret of success of its program.
During its initial four years of operation TCAHS has also made significant improvement in lowering drop-out rates and getting its students back on a consistent, successful education track.
Currently TCAHS has 45 students with accommodation for 50 student computer ports and a staff of five. The school is looking for two more teachers, including one in the special education field.
When asked what vision he has for the students and staffers at the TCAHS, he said, "This is my first year as the director for this school and I plan to review past practices, procedures and protocol that have been successful, revise or make those accommodations that will enhance student learning and success.
"My vision is to establish a high school that will support TC District goals as well as or own individual school goals that are the foundation. We want to involve students, parents in an educational environment that will inspire, instill self-pride, confidence and promote life long learning."
Next Tuchawena described areas of experience and his life philosophy to the that could help make a difference in the way at-risk students operate and learn?
" I grew up in a different school era, '60s-'70s, and education and hard work were stressed by our parents, grandparents, guardians and that gave us the initial direction," he said. "I also hit many pitfalls and obstacles in my life and I look back on those experiences and can say I have been "in the shoes" of some of our students.
Tuchawena stressed his belief in student potential.
"I believe that every student has the potential and capability to learn and succeed in any endeavor," he said.. "We can make a difference by understanding, nurturing, guiding, listening, and communicating positively with them. Our students need to believe in themselves and assume a positive attitude for the future they are creating."
Tuchawena explained how educators vision differs
"I believe that there are basic beliefs and visions that all educator have for all students," he said. "However we all have different approaches and personal styles that contribute to how we accomplish our end goals. The vision that has already been established prior to my new assignment will continue and I will implement my own enhancements as we commence through the new school year. "
When asked how important he felt TCAHS is to the overall well being of students who might not otherwise make it in a regular high school environment, he responded, "The past directors have done an excellent job in building the foundation for the TCAHS that have made a lasting impact on the education of our students. It is a really great opportunity for students to take advantage of this type of self motivated instruction. We still operate under the basic state requirements mandated by all public schools but students are really in the driver's seat to acquire their high school diplomas if they are serious and determined."
Director Tuchawena can be contacted at the TC High Alternative School for more information about their Nova Net system and high school program at 928-283-1049.
(Rosanda Suetopka Thayer is Public Relations Director for Tuba City Unified School District.)