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 Cynthia Benally

Cynthia Benally

National Board Certified Teacher
Ed.D., Arizona State University

Cynthia Benally is from the Tobacco Clan and born for the Coyote Pass Clan. Her maternal grandparents are from the Many Goats clan and paternal grandparents are from the Bitter Water clan. She is originally from Burnt Corn, Arizona. Her schooling began at Pinon Boarding School and graduated from high school in Tucson, Arizona. Cynthia holds an M.A. from Northern Arizona University in Bilingual/Multicultural Education, and an Ed.D. in Educational Administration and Supervision from Arizona State University. She has been an educator to over 20 years, on the Navajo Nation and in urban areas. She is a National Board Certified teacher with a Middle Childhood Generalist certificate. Cynthia holds Arizona Principal and Elementary Education teaching certificates with ESL, Reading, and Early Childhood endorsements.

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.

Photo of Johnson Dennison

Johnson Dennison

M.Ed., University of New Mexico

Mr. Dennison is a retired teacher, principal, and Coordinator of the Office of Native Medicine at a Chinle Comprehensive Health Care Facility. He has thirty years of experience in education: Three years teaching in classrooms, ten years as Elementary School Principal, ten years as a High School Principal, seven years as a Dean of Instruction at Diné College. He is alumni at the University of New Mexico with under graduate and graduate degrees in educational leadership.

He is a Navajo traditional medicine man practitioner for almost forty years. As a cultural specialist, he has been a motivational speaker at various conferences and meetings on such topics as Navajo Culture, Navajo History, Native Medicine, Navajo Language, Native American Education and is a Native Storyteller.

Photo of Geraldine Garrity

Geraldine Garrity

Ed.D., Fielding Graduate University

Geraldine Garrity is the new faculty chairperson of Diné College at the main campus in Tsaile, Az. She is To’áheedlíinii and born for To’dichíinii. She was raised and resides in Lukachukai, Arizona with her family.

Garrity teaches variety of Educational courses such as Language Arts courses and Structure English Immersion for the Center for Diné Teacher Education. She taught Elementary Education for 7 years and was a School Improvement Specialist for three years at Lukachukai Community School.

Her educational background includes receiving her Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education and Master’s Degree in Education from Arizona State University. She received her Doctorate in Educational Leadership and Change with an emphasis in Grounded Theory Study with Fielding Graduate University. Garrity also holds a teaching and administrative certificate with Arizona Department of Education. She is passionate about preserving and maintaining Din4 language through Navajo Nation schools by promoting Navajo culture to her students. She enjoys gardening and spending time with her family.

Photo of Daniel McLaughlin

Daniel McLaughlin

Ph.D., University of New Mexico

I am Bilagáana, born for Bilagáana. Raised in Baltimore, Maryland. I am married to Maggie George. We live at Tsaile Campus. Between us, we have two daughters, three sons, and four grandchildren. We also have a home in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Before coming to the College twenty some years ago, I was an administrator at Kayenta Unified School District, and before that, an assistant professor at the University of Utah, teacher and school principal at Rock Point Community School, ESL teacher in Honduras, and Peace Corps volunteer in Morocco. Have taught on an adjunct basis at the University of Arizona, the University of Alaska at Fairbanks, Northern Arizona University, and the University of New Mexico. Have written widely on Navajo education, participated in a wide range of research projects, edited the Journal of Navajo Education from 1987-1997, and been a consultant-evaluator for the Higher Learning Commission since 2003.

I earned a Ph.D. in Educational Foundations from the University of New Mexico, an M.A.T. in Teaching English as a Second Language from the School for International Training, and a Bachelor's in English from Tufts University.

I really love what I do here at Diné College. I also enjoy fly-fishing, long distance running, baseball, hanging out with family and friends, and any kind of live music, especially “the blues.”