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.

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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 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 Velma Hale

Velma Hale


Velma Hale is the Education Faculty for the Center for Diné Teacher Education Program. She teaches for the bachelor's program in the B.A. Elementary Education program at Diné College in Tsaile, Arizona, where she teaches STEM-related, Indigenous Inquiry-based education courses in ESL and bilingual methodology to in-service and pre-service teachers. She teaches a variety of online, hybrid, and traditional courses in educational Blackboard courses. Velma’s Dinématernal clan is of the Honaaghaanii (One Who Walk Around You) and her paternal clan is Todik'ozhi (Salt People). Her maternal grandfather is Dibé Lizhini (Blacksheep People) and her paternal grandfather is Kinyaa'aanii (Towering House People). She is originally from Tsé Naashch'ee' of Ola Ch'inliih (Hunter's Point of Gold Springs, AZ). Furthermore, Velma has co-taught for the Northern Arizona University's Diné Dual Language Professional Development Teachers Project, DDLPDP, a Title III National Professional Development Project. She was the Mentor Teacher for the master's program in Bilingual Multicultural Education at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona, where she mentored/coached STEM-related courses in ESL and bilingual methodology to in-service and pre-service teachers. Furthermore, she had been an educator for the past 16 years in many capacities: high school, college, and university settings. She has taught at Window Rock High School and Greyhills Academy High School, as an English Dual Credit Instructor and an Academic Coach. She also taught as an adjunct faculty for the University of New Mexico, Northern Arizona University, and Navajo Technical University in the Humanities, Arts & Science, English and College of Education. She has a sincere interest in paralleling STEM concepts with IWOK, Indigenous Ways of Knowing by being a contextually relevant educator by preparing future teachers of the Navajo Nation via Diné College’s Center for Diné Teacher Education Program.