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American Indian Students Graduate from University of Utah Teacher Training Program

June 2, 2006 — Twelve American Indian Students from the University of Utah, American Indian Teacher Training Program, graduated in May. The students represent four different tribes (Navajo, Zuni, Northern Arapaho and Salt River Pima-Maricopa). College degrees in hand, the graduates have a remarkable opportunity to make significant inroads into educational opportunities for American Indian students. They empower themselves ~ and in turn, they empower their communities.

The American Indian Teacher Training Program (AITTP) graduates American Indian students with bachelors and masters degrees in education-related fields. AITTP students are prepared to return to American Indian communities as teachers, role models, and leaders. At the University of Utah, AITTP students have a unique and remarkable opportunity to make significant advances into enhanced educational opportunities for young American Indian students.

The University of Utah’s American Indian Teacher Training Program (AITTP) seeks to assist American Indians/Alaskan Natives who want to work in education and who, upon completion of the program, desire to work in American Indian communities. Recent research suggests that American Indian students perform better in school and are better prepared for college when their teachers are American Indians who are invested in their educational success (McCarty, 2001).

Lisa Tobler, of the Salt River Pima tribe, thought her dream of becoming a teacher would never come true. Only with great sacrifices from her family, did the dream come true. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Secondary Education, English, and will go back to her community to teach. She said that all AITTP graduates will be mentors to the younger generation.

Graduate Phyllis Whitehorse, of the Diné tribe, thanked her family in her native language and said she will take what she has learned back to her community in Blanding. She hopes to work with Special Education/Exceptional students with diverse learning disabilities. She said she will work to empower the youth of her community, no matter who they are. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in Special Education.

The complete list of AITTP graduates is as follows:

Maranda Clauschee, Diné, Kayenta, AZ, Elementary Education, B.S.
Iva Moss, Northern Arapaho, Ethete, WY, Elementary Education, B.S.
Lorraine RedDay, Diné, Tuba City, AZ, Secondary Education, History, B.S.
Maria Salazar, Diné, Monument Valley, UT, Elementary Education, B.S.
Bobbie Shack, Zuni, Zuni, NM, English, B.A.
Shane Singer, Diné, Blanding, UT, Secondary Education, Physical Ed. B.S.
Erleen Tahbo, Diné, Fort Definace, AZ & Salt Lake City, UT,
Education, Culture and Society, M.Ed.
Lisa Tobler, Salt River Pima, Salt Lake City, UT & Scottsdale, AZ,
Secondary Education, English, B.A.
JoLynne Tsosie, Diné, Monument Valley, UT, Special Education, B.S.
Sharee Varela, Diné, Lower Greasewood, AZ, Elementary Education, B.S.
Phyllis Whitehorse, Diné, Blanding, UT, Special Education, B.S.
Sharon Woody, Diné, Rock Point, AZ, Family Consumer Studies, (Early Childhood Ed.) B.S.

For more information about the program go to