In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week, the Office of Indian Education would like to share and celebrate the educators who impacted them. At OIE, we are so grateful for the educators who nourish our minds and spirits as they guide us through some of the most formative years of our lives.
From OIE Deputy Associate Superintendent, Serena Denetsosie, MSW:
Entering Mrs. Pearl Beck’s kindergarten classroom at Tuba City Boarding School was one of my earliest memories of developing a love of learning and exploring. When thinking about her, Maya Angelou’s quote comes to mind, “I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” She exemplified this quote in the way she treated our class. In the time she’d take decorating our classroom, the special attention to details and prep work for our lessons. She always took the time to teach the “why’s” of what we were doing. Always kind and patient, Mrs. Beck made it okay to ask silly questions and helped nurture my inquisitive mindset. She is solidified in my happy recollections. Ahe’hee nitsaago, Mrs. Beck for creating such a balanced and Hozho foundation for my educational pathway.
From ADE’s Tribal Policy Specialist and Liaison, Sahmie S. Wytewa, MEd:
In honor of teachers everywhere, thank you for your perseverance and dedication to Arizona students and education. I'm humbled by the experiences of this year and wish to thank our greatest teacher, Life.
My earliest memory in education goes back to walking a dirt trail to school with my mother and the welcoming smells of breakfast in the early mornings of Head Start. The warmth of my Kindergarten teacher became the namesake of my only daughter. Memories of my pathway in education are not specific to learning or instruction, but to the caring nature of educators. I'm certain that empathy and kindness will continue to be influencers of this generation in education.
Today I want to thank the countless teachers who had little guidance in the storm of a pandemic but showed up every day to create a plan for lessons and dedicated their pursuits to their school communities while simultaneously managing their homes and families in the same environments. You are the true heroes of education today!
Under a pandemic, we asked teachers to be prepared and students to engage in their learning as best as they could while encouraging support from families and the community. Our professors in higher education and workforce development have their own experiences of the expectations of instruction with engagement and most certainly, the humanness applied to adult education.
Across Arizona, we had many individuals who stepped into the role of a teacher in so many capacities. Great thanks goes out to our parents, families, and community partners that lent support for our students in a time of uncertainty and great loss.
Together, while apart, we have learned more about the needs of our students from pre-k to higher education and the change that was required to pivot in response to a global crisis. These experiences will forever continue to shape how we move forward in the pursuit of a better future and equity in education.
With humbling appreciation, thank you to all our teachers across our lifetimes.
From OIE Project Coordinator, Brooke Curleyhair:
I am and always will be tremendously grateful for all the influential educators across the state. Teachers, as they embody more than knowledge, truly impact students’ lives through compassion, patience, dedication, and a kind spirit.
Fortunately, I have experienced such love, support, and inspiration from various educators throughout my academic journey. However, it was my second-grade teacher, Angela Joe that solidified my passion for school. She encouraged my curious mind, challenged learning mediums, and urged me to push academic boundaries.
Ms. Joe, a strong Dine (Navajo) woman, positively influenced my life. Her ability to guide my moral and academic development truly speaks to the vitality of teaching. Thus, I extend appreciation to all educators across the state for partaking in such a thankless job. Your hard work, support, and sacrifices do not go unnoticed. Thank you for positively impacting the future.