Wakanyeja – Early Childhood Education Initiative

Wakanyeja Contact

Program Contact:

tjTarajean Yazzie-Mintz, Ed.D.
Wakanyeja ECE Initiative
American Indian College Fund
8333 Greenwood Blvd.
Denver, CO 80221

Phone: (303) 426-8900

Yazzie-Mintz Bio:

Tarajean Yazzie-Mintz, Ed.D., an enrolled member of the Navajo nation, is the Co-Director of the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs and Senior Program Officer for early childhood education initiatives at the American Indian College Fund, the nation’s largest charity supporting Native higher education. She has devoted her career to improving access to early education for American Indian and Alaska Native children.

Yazzie-Mintz has dedicated her expertise to work with tribal colleges and universities by developing early childhood programs and early learning centers at the College Fund. She is helping to develop curriculum based on each community’s unique language, culture, and educational practices.

Yazzie-Mintz began her career in education as an early childhood teacher in Seattle, Washington, and continued to contribute to the field of early childhood education throughout her graduate studies at Arizona State University and Harvard University Graduate School of Education. After earning her doctorate degree from the Harvard, she spent two years working in the Boston Public Schools before becoming an assistant professor in curriculum and instruction as a faculty member at the School of Education at Indiana University – Bloomington. There she worked with the Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma and as an Assistant Professor of curriculum studies she taught in the teacher education program and conducted research in the area of Native teacher knowledge and instructional practice.

Yazzie-Mintz has been the recipient of numerous professional awards and honors; competitive grants and fellowships; has presented at numerous scholarly meetings and symposia across the country; and has published in numerous scholarly publications focusing on education. She was named the 2016 recipient of Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Alumni Council Award for Outstanding Contribution. Most recently she was appointed by President Obama in January 2017 to the Board of Directors at the National Board for Education Sciences.