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People | New assistant superintendent introduced


The Navajo Nation Department of Diné Education introduced newly appointed Assistant Superintendent Maria Carmen-Moffett to staff and stakeholders on April 5.

Moffett is Naakaii Dine’é and born for T?’ízí?ání. Her maternal and paternal grandfathers are Naakaii Dine’é.

Maria Carmen-Moffett

Her career in public education spans 27 years in New Mexico and in Arizona as a teacher, principal, and director of state and federal programs.

Her experience in Native American education inspired her research on the academic achievement of Native students.

Raised in San Diego as the daughter of World War II veteran Newton Moffett, originally from Leupp, Arizona, Moffett attended San Diego State University and earned a bachelor’s in bilingual/bicultural education.

A recipient of funding from the Navajo scholarship office, she decided to give back to the Navajo Nation.

Her first job was as an elementary teacher in Tohatchi, where she was later promoted to principal. Years of experience led to a promotion to director of Federal Programs for Gallup-McKinley County Schools.

Moffett earned a master’s in elementary education and in education leadership. She finished with a doctorate from New Mexico State University.

She was named Bilingual Administrator of the Year in New Mexico and Educator of the Year by the National Johnson O’Malley Association. She has received endorsements in bilingual education and English as a second language in New Mexico and in Arizona.

Moffett served as a principal in Kayenta and in Sanders before joining DODE.

She was introduced as assistant superintendent during the “Week of the Young Child” at the Navajo Nation Museum gathering.

Moffett said, “I have a passion for working with children because I love children. It is my passion in this area of education of working to improve the quality of education for our children.”

Moffett spoke of the challenges students faced with the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, including limited broadband access and the inability to meet with peers and teachers, and the mental and emotional strain that followed.

“With the pandemic still going on, we still continue to face those challenges,” she said. “However, we as Diné, as a people, we are resilient, and we are strong, and we will overcome this pandemic and we will continue to become strong.

“I thank everyone for helping (to celebrate) this week because our children are so beautiful,” she said. “They are our blessing. They are our future. And they will carry on everything that we share with them.

“It is said we raise our children as a village, a community, and a nation,” she said. “We raise our children collectively, and everyone here takes part in raising our children. All of you here make a difference in the lives of our Diné children.”

Charlee appointed executive director of telecommunications reg commission office

WINDOW ROCK – Tico Charlee was appointed as the new executive director for the Navajo Nation Telecommunications Regulatory Commission office.

Courtesy photo
Tico Charlee, right, the newly named executive director of the Navajo Nation Telecommunications Regulatory Commission office, replaces Christopher Becenti, left, who has moved on to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration.

He replaces Christopher Becenti, who recently began a new role as the broadband program specialist for the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s Office of Internet Connectivity and Growth.

Charlee is from Crownpoint. He is Dzi?t?’ahnii (Mountain Cove Clan), born for Bit’ahnii (His Sheaves under His Cover Clan). His maternal grandfather is Táb??há (Water’s Edge Clan), and his paternal grandfather is Tódích’íi’nii (Bitter Water Clan).

Before his appointment, Charlee served as tribal policy relations for Sacred Wind Communications since 2006 and previously as field director and executive director.

He also served in the U.S. Army for four years in tactical circuit control from 1975 to 1979.

His previous experience includes serving as president of Native Communications Inc., vice president of the Navajo Nation Telecommunications Regulatory Commission, and IT director for Navajo Tribal Utility Authority.

Charlee said, “I appreciate the opportunity to contribute to the Navajo Nation Telecommunication Regulatory Commission and to help expand broadband efforts in Navajo communities. Most importantly, to provide solutions and opportunities for telecommunication infrastructure in the Nation.”

President Jonathan Nez expressed appreciation for Christopher Becenti, who served as the NNTRC Office executive director from January 2019 to March 2022.

Becenti’s notable accomplishments include being a co-founding member of the Navajo Nation E-Rate Consortium, correcting gaps with Wireless Emergency Alerts, securing 2.5 GHz EBS Spectrum to help deploy fixed wireless as an initial and rapid deployment for broadband connections to the home, supporting efforts to establish a multi-service provider proposal, finalized the draft Telecom Regulations, collaborated with divisions of Public Safety and Community Development to create a proposal for Rural Addressing and 911-(PSAP) Public Safety Answering Point, supported the deployment of AT&T/FirstNet on the Navajo Nation.

Library to celebrate Joy Harjo’s 3 terms as U.S. poet laureate

WASHINGTON – The Library of Congress will celebrate Joy Harjo, the first Native American U.S. poet laureate, as her three terms in the position conclude with two public programs at the end of April.

Library of Congress | Shawn Miller
Joy Harjo, Muscogee Creek, in a hall of the Library of Congress earlier this summer. On June 19, she was named poet laureate for the United States. She is the first Native American to be selected for this position.

“For a remarkable three terms as U.S. poet laureate, Joy Harjo has tirelessly promoted Native poets and poetry,” said Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden.

The Poet Laureate Closing Event will take place in the Coolidge Auditorium on Thursday, April 28, at 7 p.m. (EST) and will feature Harjo, Mvskoke, reading and discussing her favorite “ancestor poems.”

The evening will begin with a performance by singer-songwriter Jennifer Kreisberg, Tuscarora, of North Carolina, and will include a reading by poet Portlyn Houghton-Harjo, Mvskoke/Seminole.
Harjo will end with a performance of her poem “Remember.”

Tickets are free and available. The event will livestream on the library’s YouTube channel and Facebook page.

As poet laureate, Harjo has joined hundreds of virtual and in-person events across the country to celebrate the power of poetry.

She also joined the Library of Congress National Book Festival virtually in 2020 and 2021, and her festival presentations were featured on PBS and in the Washington Post.

Joy Harjo was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on May 9, 1951.

She is the author of nine books of poetry, including her most recent collection, “An American Sunrise” (W.W. Norton), as well as “Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings”; “The Woman Who Fell From the Sky,” which received the Oklahoma Book Arts Award; and “In Mad Love and War” (Wesleyan University Press), which received an American Book Award and the Delmore Schwartz Memorial Award.
Harjo has also written two memoirs, “Poet Warrior” (W.W. Norton) and “Crazy Brave,” which won the 2013 PEN Center USA literary prize for creative nonfiction.

She also wrote a children’s book, “The Good Luck Cat” (Harcourt), and a young adult book, “For a Girl Becoming” (University of Arizona).


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