Center for Diné Teacher Education

Meet Our Faculty

Photo of Barsine Barney Benally

Barsine Barney Benally

M.Ed., Arizona State University

Barsine Barney Benally (Diné) is an instructor of Early Childhood Education with the Center for Diné Teacher Education Program at Diné College. Two thousand-twelve will embark her first year at Diné College as a full time faculty member. She has earned her Associates of Arts Degree in Elementary Education and Navajo Language with Diné College. She also holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Education with emphasis on Multi-lingual and Multicultural Elementary Education with Arizona State University. She received her Masters of Education Degree in Educational Leadership with Doane College and is currently working on her Graduates Degree in Educational Leadership with Arizona State University.

She has worked eight years as a K-8th instructor for Tsehootsooi Diné Bi’olta’, an immersion school in Fort Defiance, Arizona. Professional endeavors include serving on the Yale National Teacher Initiative, Certified Teacher K-8th and Navajo Bilingually Endorsed K-12th.

Photo of Charlton Long

Charlton Long


Charlton Long is originally from Forest Lake—Black Mesa area. He is Yeii’í Diné, born for Haltsoíí Tábąąhii, Lók’aa’ Diné are his maternal grandparents and Naakaii Diné are his paternal grandparents. Mr. Long is an Alumni of Diné College. He received his Bachelor’s in Elementary Education and Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction from Arizona State University. He has his teaching licenses for both Arizona and New Mexico States. He is endorsed in Gifted and Talented, Reading, TESOL, and ESL. He also has his coaching license for both Arizona and New Mexico.

His work experiences include working with Kg through 12th BIE, charter, alternative and public schools on and off the Navajo reservation for over ten years. He also taught in multi-age classrooms. He is currently working with Center for Diné Teacher Education as education faculty. He teaches for the AA in education and BA in Elementary program.

He is a veteran who was stationed at Ft. Bragg, NC and Ft. Benning, Ga. He enjoys teaching and learning. He looks forward to working with higher learning at Diné College where he started his educational journey.

Photo of Thomas Benally

Thomas Benally

M.A., Doane College

My name is Thomas P. Benally, Kin Lichíi’nii, Bit’ahnii báshíshchíín, Kin Yaa’áanii dashicheii dóó Naakaii Dine’é dashinálí. Tsé Nitsaa Deez’áhídéé’ naashá. I worked at Rock Point Community School for twenty-eight years. I started out as a Reading Tutor back in the 1970’s. After that, I held various positions, to name a few: Navajo Literacy Teacher, Navajo Language Evaluator/Specialist, Navajo Language and Culture Specialist, Elementary Principal, and 4th Grade Navajo Language Teacher.

Currently, I am a Center for Diné Teacher Education faculty member. I teach education courses for both the A.A. and B.A. programs. I have worked here at Diné College for thirteen years now. I have a Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary Education from Northern Arizona University, and an M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction from Doane College, in Crete, Nebraska. I haven been in education for over forty-three years.

Photo of Amelia Black

Amelia Black

M.Ed., Arizona State University

Professor Amelia I. Black has taught Early Childhood and Elementary Education courses at Diné College since the inception of the AA Early Childhood Education program and the change to four-year status for Diné College. Throughout her time at Diné College, she's taught all sequences of Early Childhood Education, Human Development, Special Education, Introduction and Theory courses. In addition to her teaching responsibilities at Diné College, Professor Black serves on the First Things First Navajo Nation Regional Board as an “at large member” and has held the position as Chair for Center for Dine Teacher Education in previous years. She has been a member of the College wide Academic Standards and the Assessment Committee. Outside of Diné College, Professor Black holds an Arizona Department of Education Certificate with endorsements in English as a Second Language, Special Education and Early Childhood Education. She has served as a teacher in the pre-kindergarten to 8th grade environments for over 10 years.

Geraldine Garrity

Ed.D., Fielding Graduate

Geraldine Garrity is the faculty chair of the Center for Diné Teacher Education Program at Diné College in Tsaile, Az.  She is To’1heedl7inii and born for To’dich7inii. Her maternal grandfathers are Bit’ahnii and her paternal grandfathers are Kinyaa’1anii. She was raised and resides in Lukachukai, Arizona.

Her educational background includes her Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education and Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Arizona State University/Diné College.  She also received her Doctorate in Educational Leadership and Change with an emphasis in Grounded Theory Study with Fielding Graduate University.  She is licensed in teaching and administration with Arizona Department of Education. Dr. Garrity has taught in K-8 school systems before entering the higher learning institution. As a classroom teacher she has taught in mainstream and in the Navajo Immersion classrooms.

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Blackhorse Mitchell


Billi’ lizhinii [Blackhorse Mitchell] was born and raised on Palmer Mesa a place known by Diné People as [Tse Dildo’ii] above Salt Creek Canyon, New Mexico which is near the Colorado state line in  Northern New  Mexico. He is a [Yei’ii Dine’I] Tachii’nii born for Naakaii Dine’I. His maternal Grandfather is [Hooghan Lani] and his paternal Grandfathers are [Ashiihi] clans. He attended [Ignacio] Boarding School k-1/k-11 in Ignacio High School, Ignacio, Colorado. He received his academic degree from the Institute of American Indian Arts, Santa Fe, New Mexico in 1964. Returned to IAIA and received his FA in Literary Writing in 1966 then continued to attain his Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education in 1978 from University of New Mexico College of Education. After teaching [14] year in Elementary school, middle school, he returned to UNM College of Education and received his Master’s of Art in Secondary School minored in Classical Language in the area of Dine Language. To date he has worked in  the educational field for 30 years and occasionally worked as Adjunct faculty at Dine College, Shiprock, New Mexico as well as other Colleges and Universities.

Photo of Jeannie Lewis

Jeannie M. Lewis, M.Ed

Northern Arizona University

Jeannie Lewis is Ashiihi and born for Haltsooi Dine’e. Her maternal grandparents clan is Bit’ahnii and paternal grandparents clan is Tsi’naajinii. She was raised and resides in Tsech’izhi, Arizona.
Ms. Lewis has taught college level courses at other colleges and now currently teaches Educational courses for the Center for Diné Teacher Education. She has been in the educational field for a total of 26 years and a Principal for 13 years at various Grant Community Schools on the reservation.
Her educational background includes receiving her Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education and Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from Northern Arizona University. Ms. Lewis also holds a teaching and administrative certification with Arizona Department of Education. She enjoys teaching at all grade levels and is very compassionate about the Navajo Language and Culture. She has been involved in the implementation of Navajo Immersion Programs from Kindergarten to 6th grades.

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Herman Cody

E.d.D., Arizona State University
(928) 724-6703

Dr. Herman Cody was born and raised in the Leupp area of the Navajo Nation at a place called Grand Falls.  He is Tsi’naajinii born for Naakai Dine’é.  His maternal grandfather is Kinyaa’áanii with paternal grandfather as Tódích’íi’nii.  He received his Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and Master’s in Bilingual/Multicultural Education from Northern Arizona University, and his doctorate in Educational Administration and Supervision from Arizona State University.  He is a Vietnam-era veteran having served in Southeast Asia.  Dr. Cody brings extensive classroom teaching experience to CDTE and is an avid advocate for Diné language revitalization.