Committee applauds Head Start for passing federal review

Navajo Times Staff Report

June 10, 2014

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According to a press release, the Navajo Nation Health, Education, and Human Services Committee members on Monday, commended the Navajo Head Start program for successfully passing the comprehensive federal tribal Designated Renewal System.

The announcement marks the first time in over 20 years that the program has passed the review process successfully.

HEHSC chair Council Delegate Jonathan Hale (Oak Springs/St. Michaels) called the announcement a “remarkable accomplishment” for the program and the Navajo Nation, while also urging for the continued improvement of the program.

“Looking ahead, we must address systematic issues within our government and continue to develop solutions to maintain the Navajo Head Start program for future generations,” said Hale.

The HEHSC serves as the oversight for the Navajo Head Start program. In early May, NHS was monitored by a federal review team to assess management systems, policies and procedures, observations of instruction in the classrooms, and health and safety compliance
Following the review process, the Navajo Nation was notified by the Administration for Children and Families, under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, that the program is now in full-compliance with federal mandates, according to a press release from Navajo Head Start.

HEHSC member Council Delegate Joshua Lavar Butler (Tó Nanees Dizi) also expressed his appreciation for NHS staff and the program.

"This was well-received news by the Navajo Nation and I am very thankful the Nation was able to save a program that is vital to the needs of our young people. The program was at the verge of collapse and at risk was hundreds of millions of dollars being reverted back to the federal government. I commend Sharon Singer and her staff for doing what they needed to come into compliance. At the end of the day, we have to be reminded this program is for the children,” said Delegate Butler.

Assistant Superintendent Sharon Singer thanked HEHSC members, NHS leadership team, NHS staff, and the parent policy council for their guidance and continued support.

NHS will receive a five-year non-competitive grant award for approximately $125 million, according to the NHS press release.

Additionally, NHS will be able to expand its services, educational opportunities, further develop and streamline its processes, and allows the program to become eligible for additional funding to benefit Navajo children, according to Henderson Singer.

Lamont Yazzie, director of Educational Services stated, “In passing the review and securing funding for the next five years, we can now concentrate our efforts on training staff, building instructional leaders, and building capacity in carrying out the important work of educating children and empowering families across the Navajo Nation.”

Code Talker Sidney Bedonie dies at age 87

Navajo Times

WINDOW ROCK - Speaker Pro Tem LoRenzo Bates (Nenahnezad/Newcomb/San Juan/Tiis Tsoh Sikaad/Tse’Daa’Kaan/Upper Fruitland) paid tribute on Monday, to Navajo Code Talker Sidney Bedonie who passed away on Sunday at the age of 87. Bedonie was born on March 10, 1927 in the community of Navajo Mountain in Utah.

“It is always disheartening to learn of the passing of a great warrior and protector of our people,” said Bates on behalf of the Navajo Nation Council. “We are grateful for his tremendous service and sacrifices for our country and our people.”
Bedonie enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps at the young age of 15 years old, serving as a Navajo Code Talker from 1942 to 1946. He also served in the U.S. Army and received several medals including the Korean Service Medal, for his courageous defense of our country during the Korean War.

Following his military service, Bedoni was employed as an explosives operator at the Navajo Army Depot and for the State of Arizona before eventually settling in the community of White Cone with his wife Lena Bedoni, and four children.

In 2001, he was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, and later awarded the Silver Medal of Honor for his outstanding and dedicated service as a Code Talker.

Council Delegate Jonathan Nez (Shonto/Navajo Mountain/Oljato/Ts’ah Bii Kin) also extended heartfelt condolences to Bedoni’s family and expressed appreciation for his valuable service.

“Mr. Bedoni lived a proud and honorable life ― a life in which he answered the call of duty when his country needed him the most and for which he sacrificed to shield our country and our Navajo way of life,” said Nez.

On Monday, President Ben Shelly ordered all flags on the Navajo Nation to be flown at half-staff in honor of Code Talker Sidney Bedoni, from sunrise on June 10 to sunset on June 13. Funeral services are pending.

UNITY names ‘25 under 25’ inaugural class

Navajo Times

MESA, Ariz. - United National Indian Tribal Youth Inc. has announced the 2014 inaugural class of its new national youth leadership recognition program, the "25 Under 25 Native Youth Leadership Awards," according to a UNITY news release.

The awards program is designed to celebrate the achievements of Native American and Alaskan Native youth ages 14 to 24 who embody UNITY’s core mission and exude living a balanced life developing their spiritual, mental, physical and social well-being.

Honorees will be recognized at a ceremony during the UNITY National Conference taking place June 28 to July 3 in Portland, Ore., with each receiving a hand-made beaded "25 Under 25" medallion. There, they will join more than 1,300 Native youth who are converging at the national conference for a full week of youth leadership development, featuring tribal leaders, expert trainers, and Native youth peers from throughout the country.

"We are thrilled to announce and congratulate our first class of the UNITY 25 Under 25 awards program,” said Mary Kim Titla, executive director of UNITY. "Our regional voting panelists had a major task, vetting each candidate and narrowing the field to those who stood out and exemplified what the UNITY organization has stood for, for the past 38 years."
In addition to being recognized, each awardee will receive special training by UNITY over the period of one year that is designed to build on their individual achievements. The inaugural class will be recognized as UNITY ambassadors, serving as stellar examples of Native youth leadership in Indian Country today.

Biographies of each individual will be published in the official UNITY National Conference program, as well as on the UNITY website,

Nominations for the next 25 Under 25 Native Youth Leadership Awards will open in spring of 2015.

Information: 480-718-9793.

Gishey hired for program expansion, curriculum development at NTU

Navajo Times

CROWNPOINT – Navajo Technical University has announced the hiring of Rhiannon Gishey, of Greasewood Springs, Ariz., who will assist with the implementation of NTU’s recently accredited Bachelor of Science degree program in Early Childhood Multicultural Education and to eventually develop the program into a master’s degree.

Gishey has over 10 years of experience in the education field. She began her career teaching at Greasewood Springs Community School, Inc., from 2000-2005; at Gila Crossing Community School in Laveen, Arizona, from 2005-2006; then in the Creighton School District in Phoenix  from 2006-2010. She most recently served as site supervisor at Grand Canyon University.

Gishey earned her undergraduate degree in Theater from Arizona State University in 2000, and subsequently earned  both master’s and doctorate degrees while working full-time as an educator. Gishey received her master’s degree from Northern Arizona University in Bilingual Multicultural Education and her doctorate degree in Educational Administration and Supervision at ASU - where she also worked as a faculty associate in math and science for ASU’s English Language Learners program (ELL).

“My research was in urban education, which has a large multicultural student population. What I learned from my research will help with my teaching,” stated Gishey, who also explained how her master’s degree in Bilingual Multicultural Education emphasized language, linguistics, and the fusing of different cultures into education.

When NTU’s fall semester begins in August, Gishey expects to teach four classes, all of which are 300-400 level courses. While doing so, she has been given the responsibility of expanding NTU’s Early Childhood Multicultural Education program into a master’s degree as well as revising the current Bachelor of Science degree for alignment with the New Mexico Public Education Department and compatibility with other state universities and colleges.

Gishey will spend the summer reviewing NTU’s current early childhood curriculum and textbooks as well as brushing up on the recommended early childhood standards for the state of New Mexico.

“I’m really glad to be back to Navajo Country, and I’m really excited to be part of NTU,” said Dr. Gishey, whose clans are Coyote Pass born for Red House. “It’s going to be a lot of work ahead to get the program going, but there’s a lot happening. I’m excited about it.”

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