Mandy Smoker Broaddus

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.


Native Boarding Schools: The Lasting Impacts on Today's Native Students and Families

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.

Blog Posts

Networks of Care: A Conversation About Conducting Trauma-Informed Work in Native Communities


June 27th, 2021

Maegan Rides at the Door of the National Native Children’s Trauma Center spoke with Mandy Smoker Broaddus about making trauma-informed work culturally responsive.

How Native Communities are Harnessing the Internet to Share Traditional and Contemporary Knowledge with Students


May 12th, 2020

It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness. This phrase resonates now more than ever. It also describes the way Native communities have been showing up for education during the COVID-19 pandemic—tribal elders, leaders, advocates, and educators have been finding creative ways to engage...

Switching Gears: Ways to Optimize an Unplanned Shift to Online Teaching


April 30th, 2020

The sudden pivot to online teaching comes with plenty of challenges, but teachers may be further ahead than they realize because they have already built relationships with their students. Mandy Smoker Broaddus explores different tools and resources to build upon that foundation.

New Statewide Curriculum Recognizes the History and Contributions of American Indian and Alaska Native People in Oregon


April 30th, 2019

Mandy Smoker Broaddus writes about Oregon S.B. 13 as a way for tribal peoples to have their presence validated across the state and in classrooms.

Taking Positive Steps Toward Involving American Indian and Alaska Native Families and Caregivers in Their Children’s Schooling


November 27th, 2018

Mandy Smoker Broaddus shares a set of steps that can make an immediate impact in helping American Indian students and community members feel welcome at school.

Ways to Become More Culturally Responsive in Engaging American Indian and Alaska Native Families


November 27th, 2018

Centering cultural responsiveness on youth, families and elders and making cultural connections across the curriculum are two of the family engagement strategies shared in this blog post.

Creating a More Welcoming and Culturally Responsive School Community to Engage American Indian and Alaska Native Families


November 26th, 2018

Culturally responsive systems are the key to improving outcomes for American Indian and Alaska Native students in school and in life.

Lessons from a Public Investment in Native Language Immersion Classrooms


June 9th, 2017

Mandy Smoker Broaddus writes on how Montana is creating language-immersion elementary classrooms as one strategy to restore and revitalize Native languages.