Indigenous education expert Denise Juneau joins Education Northwest as Senior Fellow

Denise Juneau, Senior Researcher, Education Northwest

Denise Juneau brings her expertise in Indigenous and culturally appropriate education, equity and student voice to Education Northwest.

PORTLAND, OREGON, USA, May 5, 2022 / — Northwest Education is delighted to announce that Denise Juneau has joined the organization as Principal Investigator. Denise brings over two decades of experience to this role, which will include support and advice on Indigenous and culturally appropriate education and multiple other policy issues.

“It is an honor to have Denise Juneau join the Education Northwest team,” said CEO Patty Wood. “His wealth of knowledge and practical experience at the state and district levels, as well as his deep ties to tribal communities, will help us focus our efforts where they can have the most impact. She has a long history of breaking down barriers and fighting for equity and social justice within the education system, which is very much in line with our mission and values.

A registered member of the Mandan Hidatsa tribes and a descendant of the Blackfeet tribe and the Tlingit and Haida tribes, Denise received her master’s degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She began her career as a teacher on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation in North Dakota and in her hometown of Browning, Montana. Later, she worked at the public education level before earning her JD from the University of Montana Law School.

“I am honored to be part of Education Northwest to support their national leadership in Indigenous education. They have done extensive and exciting work creating culturally informed and inclusive curricula, conducting analysis and equity in districts and schools and increase academic outcomes for students. I look forward to assisting their high quality team as they continue their work to achieve educational justice for Indigenous students,” said Denise.

In 2008, Denise became the first Native American woman elected to a statewide executive office in the nation, eventually serving as state superintendent of public instruction for eight years.

Under his leadership, the Montana Office of Public Instruction (OPI) created the $11.5 million Schools of Promise Initiative, which invested federal grants in schools on Indian reservations struggling with systemic problems of colonialism that lead to poverty, violence and unemployment. Denise also created the Graduation Matters Montana program, which used a school-community partnership approach to increase statewide graduation rates and reduce dropout rates. During his tenure, Native American student dropout rates declined 33% and the statewide graduation rate reached historic highs.

Ilona Wall
Northwest Education
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