Home Lifestyle FAEL participants at UNCP visit Red Mesa Unified School District

FAEL participants at UNCP visit Red Mesa Unified School District

Graduates of the MSA program and FAEL program participants at UNCP recently visited the Navajo Tribe Reservation in Arizona. Contributed photo

Graduates of the Master of School Administration program and First Americans’ Educational Leadership program participants at UNC Pembroke recently visited the Navajo Tribe Reservation in Arizona.

FAEL participants receive comprehensive induction support services during their first two years as an administrator, including professional development, consultation and mentoring support. To expand on the induction services, eight participants, two mentors and the project director visited Red Mesa Unified School District, Round Rock K-8 School and Diné College to learn more about the Navajo culture and its educational programs.

Dr. Oliver Tapaha, a UNCP Alumnus and FAEL participant who serves as principal of Round Rock School in Arizona, guided group members. Participants gained insight into the teacher education program and training of teachers who primarily work in Red Mesa School Unified District. He shared Indigenous teaching, learning and culture from the Dine’/Navajo Tribe. Participants observed classroom instructional practices and reviewed curriculum materials with the administrative leadership team.

“Introducing my UNCP FAEL family to life on the Dine reservation was an honor. They saw our continued efforts to infuse Dine’s language and culture-based teaching into our education system and the community. I enjoyed the conversations with former classmates doing amazing work to transform their respective schools,” stated Tapaha.

“Development in culturally responsive leadership is a hallmark of the First Americans’ Educational Leadership project. The project has brought together individuals representative of four Native American tribes with unique talents and skills who share a common interest of working toward improving outcomes for our Indigenous people,” states Dr. Camille Locklear Goins, FAEL director.


Drs. Jill Hathaway and Dr. Darlene Cummings serve as FAEL mentors and accompanied the participants during the visit. “Visiting Red Mesa Unified School District and Diné College was an enlightening experience for FAEL participants. We returned to our current positions with better skills and a deeper appreciation for cultural awareness as school leaders,” stated Hathaway.

Utilizing the Transformative School Leader’s framework for capacity-building for

continuous improvement, participants will use the knowledge gained to share with their prospective schools and district leadership teams.

The FAEL project is funded by a five-year, $1.1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education to address the shortage of American Indian administrators in the state’s public-school districts with a large American Indian student population. For information about FAEL, visit uncp.edu/fael.

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