Tarajean Yazzie-Mintz Joins the Fund to Manage $5 Million Early Childhood Education Initiative

Jul 22, 2011 | Blog


Tarajean Yazzie-Mintz Joins the Fund to Manage $5 Million Early Childhood Education Initiative

July 22, 2011

Tarajean Yazzie-Mintz, Ed.D. (Navajo) has been named Program Officer for the Wakanyeja “Sacred Little Ones” early childhood education initiative at the Denver-based American Indian College Fund. In her new role, Dr. Yazzie-Mintz is responsible for administering the $5,000,000 program funded by The W.K. Kellogg Foundation to establish and strengthen early childhood development centers and teacher education programs at tribal colleges and universities.

The Wakanyeja “Sacred Little Ones” program will span a five-year period and is intended to improve Native children’s skill acquisition; prepare Native children for K-12 and post-secondary education; improve the quality of early childhood teachers in Native communities through partnership opportunities with post-secondary teacher training programs; bridge early childhood and K-3 education; integrate Native language and culture into early childhood curriculum; and empower Native families and communities as change agents in education for their children.

Dr. Yazzie-Mintz previously served as Assistant Professor of Curriculum and Instruction at the Indiana University School of Education in Bloomington, Indiana. She received her doctorate from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education in Learning and Teaching; a master’s degree in educational psychology from Arizona State University; and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Arizona State University.

Yazzie-Mintz has been the recipient of numerous professional awards and honors and four competitive grants and fellowships; has presented at more than 40 scholarly meetings and symposia; and has been published in 22 scholarly publications focusing on education.

Born in Ganado, Arizona on the Navajo Reservation and educated in both Navajo schools and a Quaker boarding school, Yazzie-Mintz follows in the footsteps of her parents, Navajo educators Albert A. Yazzie and Bessi B. Yazzie. As Program Officer for the Wakanyeja “Sacred Little Ones” project, Yazzie-Mintz continues a lifetime of work – in both research and practice – focused on the ways in which teachers incorporate language and culture in the education of Native children.

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