ISLETA PUEBLO — During an informal ceremony, earlier this week, the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) officially handed over the keys and operation of the Isleta Elementary School to Isleta Pueblo. Generations of Isleta tribal members have attended the school under BIE control since the late 1890’s.
“We want to be able to control our own destiny including educating our children,” said Isleta Pueblo Governor E. Paul Torres. “Among our first priorities: hiring educators who are committed to our students and developing a curriculum that places an emphasis on teaching our native language.”
The tribe began the process of requesting the takeover last June then filed two applications Iin August and December 2014 which ensured the BIE that the tribe had the abilities to operate the school – implementing policies, establishing a Human Resources Department, food services, recreation services and financial capabilities. It received final approval from BIE this past March.
The tribe also established a 15-member transition team that has been meeting monthly since January to implement to-do lists, timelines and other tasks.
“We have created a new school board and hired our first principal in preparation of the takeover,” added Governor Torres. “We are currently hiring teachers and other pertinent staff needed to make this a success.”
Isleta is just one of four pueblos in New Mexico to take over the operation of a local school that was first established by the BIE.
Educators interested in applying for open positions at Isleta Elementary School may visit the “Careers” page at www.isletapueblo.com.
An official ceremony celebrating the transition will take place August 1 that will include visits from federal government officials including US Dept. of the Interior representatives, Secretary Sally Jewell, Asst. Sec. of Indian Affairs Kevin Washburn, BIE Director Monte Roessel, Rep. Steve Pearce and Rep. Michelle Lujan-Grisham.