Staff and Fellows
NACA Fellowship Team
Kara Bobroff, NACA Principal and Executive Director
Kara, who is Navajo/Lakota, founded NACA as part of her Echoing Green Fellowship. For this work, she was recognized in 2009 by President Obama as one of 100 top social innovators in the nation. She has been invited by the Bureau of Indian Affairs to help write the 20-year plan for Indian Education, and has presented the NACA model to local, regional, and national audiences, including the Skoll Foundation, Shine Global, White House Office of Social Innovation, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Department of Interior, Teach for America, and AmeriCorps.
Kara received a Master’s degree in Special Education and an Ed.S in Educational Administration as a Danforth Scholar from the University of New Mexico. Kara has used her professional training and experience in public education to develop thoughtful curricula, rigorous academic standards, and real partnerships with parents and communities.
Anpao Duta Flying Earth, NACA Head of School and Mentor Teacher
Duta, who is Standing Rock Lakota, White Earth Ojibwe, and Akimel O’odham, grew up on the Standing Rock reservation in South Dakota in a household that strongly advocated education. He graduated from Cornell University with a Bachelor of Arts in Government, and joined NACA to assist in opening the charter school in 2006. He is now the Head of School, and also teaches Lakota Language and Culture classes at NACA.
Duta is a singer of traditional Lakota songs and contemporary powwow songs, and has long been a learner of Lakota language. He has participated in language revitalization efforts that his grandmother, Patricia Locke, advocated for and developed. Duta is interested in further developing Indigenous language revitalization efforts through learning and sharing with other Indigenous communities.
Daniel Ulibarri, Chief Operating Officer
As the Chief Operating Officer, Daniel is responsible for ensuring the success of the NISN network broadly, as well as overall implementation of the NISN vision, key functions, finance, operations, facilities and management. His prior work includes as the Executive Director for Educate New Mexico, Inc., which provides K-12 scholarships to low and moderate income families in New Mexico. In addition, he served as the lobbyist for Educate New Mexico to aid in the passage of educational reform legislation. Daniel also served as the Director of Public Affairs for the Credit Union Association of New Mexico for three years. Daniel began his career in lobbying and grassroots development as the Program Administrator of Educate New Mexico, Inc. He holds a degree in Business Administration from Sterling College.
Corina Chavez, Director of School Development and Evaluation
Corina has worked in education since first starting her career as a program assistant/tutor for the American Indian Upward Bound/TRIBES program at the University of Colorado in 1987. Her background is extensive in education, program oversight, charter school management, and program evaluation. She also has vast experience working with American Indian populations through her work as an Independent Consultant with Bureau of Indian Education schools in New York from 2007-2012 where she focused on fundraising, program monitoring, and evaluation. Before coming to work for the NISN, Corina served as the Performance Oversight Coordinator for the New York State Education Department. Corina holds a Master of Arts in Community Psychology from the University of Texas and is a licensed teacher in the state of New Mexico.
Missy Wauneka, Mentor Teacher
Missy Wauneka is the Director of Curriculum and Instruction, Gifted and Talented Program Coordinator and Test Coordinator at NACA. She is also a part time faculty member in the Central New Mexico Community College Alternative Teaching Licensure Program. She is a National Board Certified Level 3 teacher with eight years of classroom experience in secondary math, science, and reading. Missy has also worked in the field of educational consulting with the New Mexico organization Advanced Program Initiative, where she helped organize trainings for Advanced Placement Teachers, provided professional development leading up Common Core implementation, and helped facilitate the writing process for the New Mexico Public Education Department’s Bridge Assessment Framework documents.
Missy’s interests lie in pioneering Indigenous education philosophy and practices, resulting in high quality and community based education experiences for Indigenous youth nationwide. She is also passionate about cultivating teacher leadership through effective school structures and systems. Missy is an alumna of the 2005 Teach For America New Mexico Corps. She is a graduate of the University of Michigan, where she earned Bachelor of Science degrees in Biochemistry and German and of Western New Mexico University, where she earned a Master of Arts degree in Secondary Education.
Kayla D. Begay
Kayla D. Begay is an emerging leader and Diné woman from the community of Navajo, New Mexico. She is Tódích’íi’nii born for Táchii’nii. She earned her B.A. in Sociology and Education from Occidental College and is a current M.A. in Elementary Education candidate at the University of New Mexico. As a native of Navajo, Kayla returned to fulfill the desire of the Diné Nation’s wish that Navajo students leave to receive an education and then return to make their communities better. Kayla has taught at Navajo Elementary, a school she attended as a youth. Her experiences enabled her to be a role model for her students, staff, and community members in her actions and mindset of hope, strength, perseverance, and belief that anything is possible. In the classroom, Kayla is able to build and maintain strong relationships with her students and their families and convey her love and belief in their ability to succeed despite so many obstacles against them. Her work within her community and partnership with NACA to create a charter school based in the community vision speaks volumes to her understanding and deep belief that all students deserve an education that allows them to be firm in their identities and reclaim their rights as Native people on a sovereign land. In addition to being a NACA-Inspired Schools Network Fellow, Kayla is a W.K. Kellogg Foundation Community Leadership Network Fellow, Teach for America Alumni, and serves on the Red Lake-Navajo Community Action Group Council.
Michael Dabrieo is from the small town of Sanford, Maine, where he grew up with his five brothers and sisters. After graduating from the University of Maine, he worked as a journalist and community organizer. Later, Michael joined Teach for America and taught seventh and eighth grade at Tohaali Community School, located just south of Shiprock on the Navajo Reservation. He then went on to work at Thread, Alaska’s Child Care Resource and Referral Network, in Anchorage, Alaska as the organization’s Program Coordinator. He completed his Master’s degree in Education at Harvard University in 2014, and also became a Fellow at the NACA-Inspired Schools Network. Michael believes schools should be open and responsive to their communities, and hopes to assist in the creation of a school that is sensitive to the regional and cultural identities of Native youth.
Lee Francis IV
Lee Francis IV (Laguna Pueblo) is an educator, activist, and poet with over fifteen years of experience teaching and conducting workshops with minority populations, especially in Indigenous and Native American communities in North America. His career has ranged through all aspects of education, from pre-K to higher education, and from teaching to administration. His primary focus has always been on positive youth development and student success, with an eye towards the arts and exploring creativity in all aspects of education. He began his career with the Bureau of Indian Affairs in Washington DC, and spent a number of years in New Mexico working with the Pueblo of Laguna Department of Education. He currently serves as the National Director of a Native American community-youth development organization, Wordcraft Circle, Inc., that focuses on promoting stories as a means of local development and cultural sustainability. He is an award winning poet and performer and has been published in numerous journals, most recently the Yellow Medicine Review. He will be completing his Ph.D. from Texas State University in December 2014. He lives in Albuquerque with his beautiful wife, amazing son, and crazy dog.
Lane Towery was born in Denver, Colorado and grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma. A graduate of Duke University, he moved to Gallup, New Mexico in 2010 to teach 3rd and 5th grades at Mariano Lake Community School, a Bureau of Indian Education school in the checkerboard region of the Navajo Nation. After teaching, Lane coached teachers in Teach For America’s program across Indian Country in New Mexico. From Shiprock to Zuni and from Gallup to Pueblo Pintado, Lane has worked in schools across many districts and agencies providing education in reservation communities. Lane completed a Rural School Leadership Academy fellowship in 2014, became a NACA-Inspired Schools Fellow the same year, and expects to finish a Master’s degree in Education from the University of New Mexico in spring 2015. Fueled by his experiences in the classroom and in many schools across the reservation, Lane believes deeply that schools are the most effective unit of change, able to both provide an excellent educational experience and strengthen the community around it. Lane envisions opening a culturally responsive Indigenous school by fall 2016.
Zane Rosette – NACA Dean of Students
Zane Rosette is from the Chippewa-Cree Tribe, which is located in Rocky Boy, Montana. Zane holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education and a Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Montana. As an eight-year veteran teacher, Zane chose the NACA Fellowship to serve Native American students and their communities. In his current role as the Dean of Students at NACA, Zane sees that Native American students and their families have a special bond with the school, and this strong partnership motivates and inspires youth to believe their dreams are attainable.
In the near future, Zane sees himself leading a school that has a large population of Native American students. His desire is to take what he’s learned at NACA to build strong relationships between school and families, while having high expectations for his students and – at the same time – honor who they are.
Having been raised on a reservation I saw the struggles a good portion of our students experience, and I wanted to make a positive impact in their lives. Too many of our Native students slip through the cracks and never realize their educational potential. NACA allows leaders to actively engage our youth and communities in order to make positive gains in their educational, mental, physical, and cultural aspects of their lives. My vision for Native American youth is for them to be allowed room to grow in all aspects of themselves. They should be able to safely engage in the learning of their cultural ways, and at the same time have high expectations for the rigors of a school’s core curriculum.
– Zane Rosette
Leroy Silva, NACA Junior/Senior Dean
Leroy, or “Buster,” is from the Pueblo of Laguna in New Mexico. He received his Associate degree in Health, Physical Education and Athletics, and Bachelor degree in American Indian Studies from Haskell Indian-Nations University in Lawrence, Kansas. Leroy has been teaching Personal Wellness since NACA’s opening day in 2006. With a background in sports and fitness, he has used his experiences to create a unique wellness curriculum for the students at NACA.
His vision for the education of Native American students is to embody and practice the values of traditional ways of life, while excelling in the teachings of modern education. Following the fellowship, he plans to impact his home community through a sustainable and progressive health and wellness movement, and work with the tribal Department of Education to help build a strong and relevant curriculum to keep students connected with their community while planning a college path.
The skills and experience I gained from teaching and the NACA Leader Fellowship has helped me greatly… As the Dean of Students there are many aspects of the campus that need my attention: attendance, students, teachers, safety, school culture, and families. Being able to believe in the mission of the school has helped guide my leadership skills and plan for the future…and [the] experiences have prepared me to balance and strategize a heavy work load.
– Leroy Silva
Valerie Siow, Teacher
Valerie is from the Pueblo of Laguna in New Mexico. She received a Bachelor of Arts in American Studies with a Native American Studies Minor from Stanford University, and a Master degree in Elementary Education from the University of New Mexico. Valerie has been teaching for eight years. She chose to enter the NACA Fellowship because it was an opportunity to apply her knowledge and experience as an educator outside of the classroom. She had the opportunity to take on leadership positions at the school, while also engaging with the larger community towards the establishment of a K-5 educational program for NACA. Valerie is now on the Pueblo of Laguna’s Education Task Force, which is critically looking at ways to improve the pueblo’s education system so that high learning expectations are upheld. She is also an instructor in the GENAC partnership with CNM. Her aim is that her work with the tribe and GENAC will lead to better educational outcomes for Native students.
I believe that our Native students deserve a well-rounded education that reflects and integrates our complicated history, culture, language and resilience. As a Native educator, I believe that our tribal communities need to exercise their sovereign power and create more opportunities that allow or influence schools to prioritize indigenous language and perspective in their curriculum. I would also like to see an increase in the number of Native teachers in our classrooms.
– Valerie Siow
Gavin Sosa – Dream Diné Director of Operations and Community Organizing
Gavin Sosa, a former teacher on the Navajo Nation and a Master’s graduate of the Stanford College of Education Policy, Organization, and Leadership Studies program, was a Native American Community Academy (NACA) Leadership Fellow from 2010-2011. Gavin has been working to gain community support for a new school in Shiprock, NM since 2011, and the Public Education Department approved its charter in December 2013. Gavin held over 20 meetings with local educators and elders, passionate families and youth, and grassroots community leaders. The local community has designed Dream Diné as a dual-language elementary school built around the Navajo culture and living/learning process. The school will implement an integrative, active curriculum that strives to draw the school and community together as a holistic learning system. Dream Diné plans to open for the 2014-15 academic year with kindergarten and first grade.
Working with Dream Dine’ will be a life-long endeavor for me. But I’m excited to hear more and more community members across indigenous America and elsewhere calling for real alignment between schools and the communities that house them. As the NACA Leader Fellowship incubates, strengthens and empowers these efforts, I’m personally excited to see what new collaborative opportunities are developed.
– Gavin Sosa