Mandy Smoker Broaddus has nearly 20 years’ experience working toward social justice, equity, inclusivity and cultural responsiveness, particularly in the realm of American Indian education.
She has served at the tribal college, K-12 and state education agency levels across her home state of Montana where she is an enrolled member of the Assiniboine and Sioux tribes of the Fort Peck reservation. Her leadership of the Schools of Promise initiative led to the development of a new model for improving Montana’s lowest performing schools, which were all located on a reservation in Montana. She also led the state’s Indian Education for All work that served as a model for many other states seeking to include American Indian identity, culture and history in their educational systems.
Mandy is also passionate about developing culturally responsive systems that meet the needs of all students. She believes that honoring students, their families and their communities is a necessity and that stronger, more authentic community outreach—as well as youth empowerment and leadership development—are necessary components to closing achievement gaps.
She received the 2015 National Indian Educator of the Year award by the National Indian Education Association, as well as an appointment by President Obama to the National Advisory Council on Indian Education.
Because of the gaps and inequities that students and their families too often face, we need to create a new paradigm in education that sets the values, norms and belief systems of a community as the standard to align all work across a system. This will allow for authentic engagement, meaningful relationships and a shared vision held by school and community alike. Students who attend schools that face turbulence and trauma deserve nothing less.
How do past boarding school practices and policies affect our Native students and families today? Learn from several educators in the Western region who are successfully partnering with our Native communities.