First Navajo Nation Board of Education meets
WINDOW ROCK-On Friday, Jan. 19, the five elected representatives from five Navajo agencies, and four presidentially-appointed Navajo Nation Board of Education members held their first-ever meeting at the Education Center. Navajo Nation education code, Title 10 enacted in July 2005 by Navajo Nation Council established an 11member board to oversee the operations of schools under its jurisdiction on the Navajo Nation and exercise regulatory functions and duties over education programs on the Navajo Nation.
Invited to the meeting was Navajo Nation President, Joe Shirley. President Shirley assured the board that he would soon appoint two individuals to fill the remaining vacant positions. President Shirley appointed four of the six appointees, who were then confirmed by the Education Committee of the Navajo Nation Council in March 2006.
The parent representative for the Western Navajo Agency resigned in June 2006 due to personal reasons. In December 2006, Dr. Phillip Bluehouse resigned from the Board. Bluehouse served as Navajo Culture Traditional representative on the board. He chose to resign due to getting elected to the Ganado Unified School District Governing Board. According to Title 10, a board member cannot serve on another school board while serving on the Board of Education.
President Shirley-in meeting the Board of Education, Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Tommy Lewis, and Department of Diné Education staff-set the tone to work together through unification so Navajo children won't be "left behind." Shirley asserted our children will take the dominant language and Navajo language to be effective learners.
President Shirley told the board that they have his full support to implement Title 10 and that he had supported Title 10 during his last term. He explained that Title 10 has roots in the Diné Education Philosophy, and that this philosophy should be implemented in all schools throughout the Navajo Nation. He further emphasized that through education, we can get out of the cycle of dependency (shá), and this is what Title 10 is all about.
As President Shirley concluded his position on education, the Board of Education members agreed that unification and cooperation are key in recognizing and understanding the implementation of the Navajo Sovereignty in Education Act.
Through a ballot election process, the Board realigned their officers. The new officers are: Jimmie C. Begay, President, Rebecca Benally, Vice President, and Vee F. Brown as Secretary. Other members include elected representatives from Eastern Navajo Agency, Dolly C. Begay: Western Agency, Dr. Dolly Manson; Ft. Defiance Agency, Katherine Arviso; and Shiprock Agency, Virgil Kirk, Jr. Presidentially-appointed members are Juanita Benally, Navajo Culture Representative, and Maijorie Dodge, Teacher representative.
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