500 Community educators and staff attend 13th Annual Teacher In-Service
August 21, 2017
Thomas R. Throssell
Gila River Indian News
Over 500 Gila River Indian Community educators and school staff attended the 13th Annual Reservation-Wide Teacher In-Service held at the Sheraton Grand at Wild Horse Pass on Aug. 11.
Conference attendees made up of teachers, administrators, bus drivers, and custodial staff, filled the Sheraton Grand’s Akimel Ballroom as the event kicked-off with a breakfast, Posting of Colors performed by Haskell Osife-Antone American Legion Post 51, and a blessing by District 5 Representative Robert Stone.
Fredrick Poitra, GRIC Tribal Education Department Assistant Director, said the conference is a place for Community educators and staff to increase their knowledge and develop professionally.
“It was an amazing event, it was very productive, (there was) a lot of positive feedback from the attendees and the participants,” said Poitra.
A welcoming address was given by GRIC TED Director Isaac Salcido, along with a special message presented by Lt. Gov. Monica Antone, who talked about the important role Community educators played in their students’ lives.
“Let me commend you all, each of you, the service that you do for the youth of the Gila River Indian Community,” Antone said. “Our children are our future and our pride. Each of you that are here today, everything that you do is all about the Akimel O’otham (and) Pee Posh children of our community,” she said.
“We support the education department and you as teachers, (who) wouldn’t be sitting where you are at now, if you didn’t have compassion in your heart,” said Antone.
Keynote speaker, Mitch Factor, of the Menominee Nation, pumped up the crowd with jokes and activities. He stressed it was important to not only educate the students but also teach their families as well.
Following the conference’s opening, educators and school staff attended breakout sessions that were held throughout the day. The sessions covered a variety of topics from instruction on effective classroom management techniques to learning about traditional O’otham culture and foods.
In recognition of educators and staff who worked with and educated the Community’s children for 10, 20, or 30 years and more, a Years-of-Service Recognition was held, with Governor Stephen Roe Lewis handing out plaques to the long serving employees.
Below is a list of GRIC educators and staff who have worked in the Community for 30 or more years:
Edwardine Thomas, BWCS, 31 years
Joella Antone, SESD, 33 years
Sister Martha Mary Carpenter, St. Peter, 33 years
Andrea Perkins, BWCS, 35 years
Alyta Hillard, St. Peter, 37 years
Connie Jackson, SESD, 38 years
Sister Thereselle Arruda, St. Peter, 38 years
Noreen Lasiloo, BWCS, 40 years
Gwendolyn Paul, BWCS, 42 years
Matilda Pratt, BWCS, 45 years