Mr. Rex Lee Jim, Hataałii, Dean of SDSE
Executive Director, Navajo Sovereignty Institute
Ordained Blessing Way Singer, The Diné School of Navajo Ceremonial Science, Navajo Nation M.A., Middlebury College, Masters of Letters in English
M.A., Middlebury College, English
B.A. Princeton University, English
Saad L1 Tah H0zh00n:A Collection of Diné Poetry.Flagstaff: Salina Bookshelf, Inc., 2019. Duchas – T’11 K== Diné Belfast: Irish Press, 1999.
Saad. Princeton: LenapeYaa Deez’1, 1995.
Dancing Voices: Wisdomof the American Indian. Editor.White Plains Peter Pauper Press,1994.
!h7 Ni’ Nikisheegiizh. Princeton: Lenape Yaa Deez’1, 1989.
Living From Livestock: Range Management and Ranch Planningfor Navajo Country.Rock Point: Rock Point Books, 1984.
Naakaii Tahg00 T1zhd77y1(Capture by the Mexicans). Rock Point: Rock Point Books, 1981. Echo. Rock Point: Rock Point Community School, 1981.
Dr. Suzanne Wolf
PhD, Arizona State University, Educational Psychology, Subspecialty: Quantitative Research Methods>br />
MA, Arizona State University, School Psychology
Honors BA, Marquette University, Psychology
Dr. Sue has held adjunct faculty teaching positions at various post-secondary institutions teaching undergraduate and graduate courses at Arizona State University (1980’s), Ottawa University (1990’s), Rio Salado College (2000’s), and previously here at Diné College as a full-time faculty in the School Business and Behavioral Sciences in the Psychology Department (2018-2020). In addition, she has served as visiting adjunct faculty for specialized courses in education at both Western Oregon University and Northern Arizona University. To date, she continues to function as an outside expert for doctoral committees at Grand Canyon University in the College of Education.
Dr. Sue has been an independent consultant and the Executive Director at Empowerment Research, LLC (ERLLC) providing research and evaluation services for public programs (education, health, social services) at the federal, state, tribal, and local levels since founding the company in 1984. Her agency has been responsible for federal and state legislative reporting for numerous concerns related to disability issues and preventative health initiatives as well as social service programs. She has also served as Lead External Evaluator on several NIH- and NSF-funded STEM projects over the past two decades.
As an adult educator strong in andragogic techniques and philosophy, Dr. Sue holds a long-standing contract with the Arizona Department of Education offering statewide ADE-approved professional development as well as technical assistance direct to public educational institutions. Her emphasis and expertise are in the areas of special education and specifically in issues related to servicing individuals with traumatic brain injuries and neuro impairments. ERLLC also contracts with the Arizona Governor’s Council on Spinal and Head Injuries to provide training to professionals, consumers, and family members regarding the epidemiology of brain injuries, functional impacts after injury or disease, psychometric assessments, appropriate academic and behavioral interventions and compliance with federal requirements (IDEIA and Section 504). Dr. Sue remains as a long-standing member of Arizona’s Statewide Injury Prevention Advisory Council (IPAC) and holds several board positions with organizations at the community level.
When she’s not teaching, Dr, Sue lives on a small ranch surrounded by the Tonto Forest and loves raising her goats, ducks, and dogs and building her retirement home. She says that life at Deer Creek Ranch reminds her of her childhood growing up in central Wisconsin on a beef and dairy farm but without the daily milking chores.
BLE 352 Understanding Human Development
BLE 390 Student Growth and Development
ECE 116 Language, Literacy and Cognitive Development
ECE 225 Child Growth and Development
EDU 240 Introduction to Special Education
EDU 261 Technology in Education
EDU 345 Human Development in the Schools
EDU 360 Special Education in Indigenous Classrooms
EDU 476 SEI/ESL for Culturally Diverse Learners in Bilingual Settings
EDU 498 Student Teaching
and various Field Experience courses (EDU 358, 378, 478)
Mr. Roger Benally, Hataałii, Professor
M.Ed., Doane College, Educational Leadership
M.Ed., Doane College, Curriculum & Instruction B.A., Prescott College, Education
Mr. Thomas P. Benally, Instructor
M.Ed., Doane College, Curriculum & Instruction
B.S., Northern Arizona University, Education
Dr. Herman Cody, Associate Professor
Ed.D., Arizona State University, Educational Leadership and Supervision M.A., Northern Arizona University, Bilingual/Multicultural Education B.S., Northern Arizona University, Elementary Education
A.A., University of New Mexico, Recreational Leadership
Dr. Avery Denny, Hataałii, Professor
President of Diné Hataałii Association, Inc
Ordained Blessing Way Singer,Blessing Way/Hózhóój7, Protection way/ Naayée’eejí, and Night Chant/T[’44j7 Hat11l. The Diné School of Navajo Ceremonial Science, Navajo Nation
Navajo Traditional Educational background:
Hataalii, a Singer of the Blessing way/ Hózhóój7, Protection way/ Naayée’eejí, and T[’44j7 Hat11l, The Night Chant. A Hataalii holds the highest standard in the community practicing the Navajo Traditional Healing Ceremonies. These ceremonies last two, five and nine nights, Hat11lor Nahaghá.This skill as a healer is equivalent of being a Physician and Psychologist.
In promotion and preservation, the Navajo Language and the Navajo Culture Dr. Denny teaches a Diné k’ehjí Nahaghá Bínáhoo’aah over at the north Hogan. Learners are seated on the dirt floor singing and doing prayers of the NavajoCeremonial songs. This is a developmental course opened to the publicand the students for a certificate program.
He has also taught DEP 294 and 295 courses while employed with the Diné Policy Institute and has been involved with faculty development for new faculty. These courses also requireda field trip tosacred sites as an educational historical visit to Bears Ears Monument, Dinetah, and Canyon De Chelly. He has students organize their Nightway dancing and Fire dance group and go to local winter ceremonies and do their medicine.They would be announced and recognized as students from Diné College performing their dances. As member of Diné Hataalii Association. Inc. and as a President of DHA he has been teaching for over 40 years in the area of Diné Culture and Oral History.
He is also an active coachin the “Diné College WarriorHand Game Team” under AIHEC.He’s traveled with teams, teaching to be a spiritual advisor and as a supporter. There are many students who come to him for help with personal problems and as a holistic healer he intervenes and help resolve their problems here at the college.
1.NIS 111 Foundation of Navajo Culture
2. NIS 220 Navajo Oral History
3. NIS 371 Navajo Philosophy
4. NIS 311 NavajoHolistic Healing
5. NIS 294 Diné Educational Philosophy (DEP)
6. PSY 111 Introduction to (Navajo) Psychology
7. PSY 340 Child and Adolescent Development
8. DNB 100 Ethics Training
9. DNB 101 Diné Spirituality
10. Navajo Herbology
Mrs. Sharon James, Instructor
M.Ed., Northern Arizona University, ESL and Bilingual Education, Multicultural Education
M.Ed., Arizona State University, Curriculum and Instruction, Early Childhood Education
B.A., Diné College, Elementary Education
A.A., Diné College, Elementary Education
Mrs. James has a total of 10 years of teaching experience. She started her teaching career with Chinle Unified School District #24, where she enjoyed teaching and tutoring early childhood and elementary education students while serving as a mentor teacher to Diné College’s student teachers. She then ventured into administrative and leadership roles such as an English Language Learner Mentor Teacher with CUSD and eventually as a Dean of Students with Lukachukai Community School. This is her first year as a Faculty in Higher Education with the School of Diné Studies and Education with the Center for Diné Teacher Education and Northwest Teacher Education Program.
Mrs. James is also a hand trembler diagnosis apprentice under the direct supervision and guidance of her father, Dr. Anthony Lee, Sr., a duly certified and licensed medicine man practitioner – Hataalii, of the Dine Traditional Healing Science & Medicine. She is specializing in the preliminary diagnosis
– Deest’ii’ (crystal gazing) of patients who aspire traditional healing and a healthy well-being. She is also a traditional herbalist apprentice under the direct supervision of her mother, Delores Lee, a duly certified and licensed traditional herbalist. She intends to continue to learn traditional ceremonial practices, songs, and prayers to revitalize Navajo teachings, language, and culture. With a balanced integration and continuous learning of Diné and Western education, she aspires to empower, teach, mold, and guide Diné/Indigenous students, youth, and future generations to sustain and attain traditional knowledge, healing, and academic achievement.
Mr. Thomas Littleben Jr., Instructor
B.S., Northern Arizona University, Human Relations
A.A., Diné College, Diné Studies
A.A., Diné College, Navajo Language
Mr. Blackhorse Mitchell, Hataałii, Professor
M.A., University of New Mexico, Secondary Education
B.S., University of New Mexico, Elementary Education
A.S., Diné College, BI/Cultural/Language
A.A., Diné College, Education
They lived in a dirt floor hooghan without indoor plumbing nor electricity and slept on sheepskin bedding. These life experiences marks who he is. My personhood shaped by experiences of hardship and labor provided motivation and stamina, prayers at Dawn enhanced the needed work ethic and integrity to try harder than the day before.
David enlisted in the military service soon after graduation from High School although on the normative, people were going for higher education. He served 3 years of active duty in the U.S. Army in Germany and 3 years at Fort Bragg, NC. He gained the rank of Staff Sergeant, Senior Non- Commissioned Officer (NCO).When it was time for another tenure in the military, his mother heard of a possible re-enlistment, she intervened, stating her concerns according to traditional law. Upon returning in August 1980, David felt the need to search for a meaningful career, therefore he enrolled at Navajo Community College, and the military had only taught me war tactics and military leadership, he needed a real-time life future.
He transferred to the University of New Mexico, and attained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Education in 1987. With his college degree, he was hired on with the Navajo Nation as a Management Specialist and made a career in executive management and governmental leadership positions, retiring early in 2014.
In the Fall of 2016, he was accepted to graduate school at the Navajo Technical University to study Diné culture, and language, and graduated in 2018 with a Master’s Degree. During and after graduate school, he taught 200 to 400-level courses related to Dine culture and leadership as an adjunct faculty.
In 2022, he began as full-time faculty for Diné College teaching and developing Navajo Nation Leadership Certificate program courses along with general education courses related to Navajo history, governance, and leadership. This position opened the door for greater research and collaborative learning.
T0hatch8, New Mexico is his home, he married into this community40-plus years ago. He and his wife have two daughters and one son. They are now both retired and taking care of livestock and land on behalf of their growing children who will eventually occupy this territory.
Mrs. Barsine Onyenedo, Instructor
A.B.D., Fielding Graduate University, Leadership for Change
M.Ed., Doane College, Educational Leadership
B.A., Arizona Date University, Multilingual/Multicultural Education
A.A., Diné College, Bilingual/Bicultural Elementary Education
A.A., Diné College, Navajo Language
Comb Clan). She serves as Lead Faculty for Early Childhood Education within the Center for Diné Teacher Education at Diné College promoting language and culture within the birth to third grade classrooms. She has also taught Dual Credit courses for high school students, associate of elementary education courses and, bachelor of Elementary Education courses. She is currently the Chair of the School of Diné Studies and Education providing program advisement services to SDSE students, manages faculty onboard monitoring/academic support, and program monitoring from schedules to program assessments. She also serves as the Faculty Association President, working towards strengthening faculty governance and ensuring that faculty voices are heard. She is committed to building internal/external partnerships across the academic realm. She stresses the role of instructional leadership, accountability and data-based decision making in meeting the needs of the Navajo Nation communities, its students and a climate of continuous improvement. Two thousand-twelve embarks her first year at Diné College as a fulltime faculty member. She has served ten years in teaching Higher Education.
Her educational journey includes earning her Associates of Arts Degree in Bilingual/Bicultural Elementary Education and Navajo Language through 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 for Change with Fielding Graduate University where she is at All but Dissertation.
Prior to her appointment at Diné College, she served as a kindergarten to 8th grade Navajo Immersion Certified Teacher, teaching eight years in the Navajo language medium for Tsehootsooi Diné Bi’olta’, a Navajo Immersion School in Fort Defiance, Arizona. She has taught Navajo language courses at Middlebury Institute of International Studies, has been a youth Navajo language instructor for Phoenix Indian Center, External ECE Reviewer for Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute, private consultant for Navajo Transcriptions Inc, and Navajo Language Test Administrator for ALTA Language Services to mention a few. Her professional endeavors include being a AdvancEd/Cognia Team Reiewer to Navajo Nation and national schools, Fellow of Yale National Teacher Initiative, Fellow of Linguistic Society of America, Fellow of 4 Directions Leadership, President of the Navajo Language Academy, Board of Director for CoLang and a private consultant to Immersion/Bilingual Schools across the nation. Mrs. Onyenedo is a strong advocate for indigenous language and culture education.
Mr. Peter Thomas, Assistant Professor
M.Ed., Northern Arizona University, Multicultural/Bilingual Education M.Ed., Northern Arizona University, Educational Leadership
B.S., Northern Arizona University, Elementary Education
(928) 724 – 6660
Lawrence has a total of 15 years of teaching experience. He started his teaching career with Ganado Unified School District, where he taught middle school mathematics for five years. He then taught at Greasewood Springs Community School for another four years as he wanted to gain experience within the Navajo Nation Grant/Contract schools. In 2013, he began working with Window Rock Unified School District at the middle grades level. He then transitioned into administrative capacities by becoming the Director of Diné Culture and Language and eventually serving as primary school Principal. He is a first-year Faculty of Higher Education with the School of Diné Studies and Education with the Center for Diné Teacher Education and Northwest Teacher Education Program.
Gene Vecenti, Associate Professor
M.Ed., Northern Arizona University, Bilingual/Multicultural Education
B.A., Fort Lewis College, Student Structured
A.A., Diné College, Liberal Arts
A.A., Diné College, Navajo Language
A.A., Diné College, Diné Studies
Navajo Language Faculty
M.Ed, Northern Arizona University
Credentialed to teach Navajo (Diné) Culture, Language, History, Nation’s Government, Traditional Knowledge, Applied Linguistics, Linguistics, Language Methodology, Language Acquisition, Morphology, Phonology, Syntax, Semantics/Pragmatics, and Discourse. Worked and provided assistance to the Navajo Community College, and Diné College to at-least 5 accreditation processes. Completed the Project Siih Hasin for the 2008 Higher Learning Commission Accreditation.
Provided Leadership and membership to the Student Learning Academic Assessment for more than 20 years. Been in the membership and leadership role for the Academic Standing Committee: Academic Standards, Curriculum, Distance Education, and the Arizona Languages Articulation Task Force (AzLATF).
Belongs to the Tangle Clan, born for Red Running into Water – Zuni Clan, Salt People are her maternal grandpas and Bitter Water are her paternal grandpas. Her husband is Steven B. Whitstone, together they have four children. The eldest is their only daughter. She is grateful for the opportunity to work with the faculty and staff at Diné College. She utterly enjoys working with adolescents and pushes forward for the longevity of our sacred language – Diné Bizaad.