MREA and its American Indian (AMI) Advisory Committee welcome Dr. Jane Harstad as the new director of Indian Education at the Minnesota Department of Education. She takes the helm March. 1.

Dr. Harstad brings a strong background in Indian Education to this important leadership position. Born and raised in the Twin Cities, Jane is a member of the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa.

After working as an elementary teacher in St. Paul, she continued her education to include a master’s and doctorate degree in educational leadership in the American Indian Leadership Program at Penn State. Upon returning to Minnesota, she has continued her career as a principal and in the research field among the nonprofit sector.

A major focus of the MREA AMI Advisory Committee this year is to address the absence of curriculum with an engaging and accurate narrative of the American Indian history and experience in Minnesota. The committee is researching what is available in other states and exploring the role MREA can play to facilitate the development of such a curriculum.

MREA AMI Advisory Committee

The MREA AMI Advisory Committee, appointed by the MREA Board, also welcomes new members Mary Sam and Darrell Stolle.

Both add significant expertise and background to the committee. Mary Sams recently directed a regional equity educational outcomes project. Darrell Stolle, Education Department Chair of Concordia College Moorhead, was director of the Montana Center for Childhood Trauma, and later co-director of the National Native Childhood Trauma Center where his work consisted of helping schools to become ’trauma-informed’ institutions.

MREA AMI Advisory Committee members:

  • Steve Cairns Bagley Superintendent
  • Lee Carlson St. James Teacher
  • Lowana Greensky St. Louis County Indian Education Coordinator
  • Matt Grose Deer River Superintendent
  • Mary Sam, Onamia
  • Darrell Stolle Moorhead Higher Education
  • Rae Villebrun Floodwood Superintendent
  • Lynette Zupetz St. Louis County School Board

The committee elected Matt Grose, Deer River Schools Superintendent, as committee chair.