Michael ThompsonPlanning Team Member
Michael Thompson was an English/Language Arts teacher and department chairman at Bloomfield High School for more than 15 years. He taught Native American Studies and English courses at San Juan College where he was also DIrector of Alternative Licensure and the Bisti Writing Project in Farmington, NM. He and his wife have close ties to the Shiprock area and have been active in a wide range of cultural and educational activities for many years. Michael has also worked on the development and implementation of the Common Core standards for schools and districts and is a long-time member of the Bisti Writing Project. His expertise in language acquisition and curriculum alignment and development have guided Dream Dine's work throughout the charter development years. His wife Tina Deschenie served as Head Administrator At Dream Dine from 2016-2019. Their children have also assisted at the school over the years. Tasha created the school logo and Dez developed the school garden, and taught garden and nutrition classes.
Ravis HenryPlanning Team Member
Ravis graduated from Navajo Pine High School in 2006, and moved to Flagstaff to attend NAU. He returned to Chinle, AZ to care for his grandmother and began volunteering at Canyon de Chelly National Monument and working on his family’s farm in the Canyon. Over the past several years he has become one of Canyon de Chelly’s leading cultural interpretive guides, and regularly gives talks to visitors about the Canyon’s history and importance to Navajo people. Ravis also travels to numerous elementary and middle schools in the area to deepen student’s understanding of Navajo culture and history. Since 2005 Ravis has participated in conversations around the development of an Indigenous-centered school, and has provided guidance and leadership throughout the process of starting Dream Dine' Charter School
Rose Fasthorse NofchisseyFounding Member
Rose Fasthorse Nofchissey is from Shiprock/Gadii’ahi, New Mexico. She is currently teaching Dine language at Navajo Preparatory School. Before that she was the Assistant Principal at Tse Bit’a’i Middle School in Shiprock, NM. Prior to being an Assistant Principal, Rose was the District’s Bilingual/Multicultural Coordinator, a Dine Language & Culture Coach and a Reading Coach with Central Consolidated School District (CCSD). Rose has 38+ years of experience as an educator expanding from teaching reading intervention, Dine language, middle and high school English/Language Arts. During her educational career, Rose has also been a Principal, an Assistant Principal, and a Dean of Instruction. She has been involved in a variety of curriculum development projects and programs for Dine language and English/Language Arts since 1973. Rose has presented at various conferences and workshops such as National Indian Education Association and National Bilingual Education Association to share her knowledge. Rose is currently the Vice President of the Dine Language Teachers Association (DLTA). She has been engaged in several research studies in Dine language curriculum, instruction and assessment. Rose has also published children’s books in Dine Language. Rose has a Bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education from University of New Mexico. She attained her Masters Degree in Reading from the University of New Mexico. Rose was in the doctoral program in Educational Leadership at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Az. Rose is licensed as a teacher and administrator, and holds endorsements in ESL and bilingual education in both New Mexico and Arizona.
Lambert BenallyFounding Member
Lambert Benally is Dine' from Cove, Arizona (25 miles west of Shiprock). He is Bit'ahnii, born for Tabaahi. Lambert is currently a Legislative District Assistant for the Navajo Nation as well as the Program Director of the civic engagement program "K'e the Vote". He previously worked as an Outreach Consultant with Kauffman and Associates, Inc. educating and raising awareness about the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act, and as a state-wide Tribal Field Coordinator. He has worked in various Get Out to Vote efforts across the Navajo Nation. Lambert studied Physics at Northern Arizona University and Arizona State University. He has dedicated his personal and professional life to building positive culture, strong voices, and education amongst the Dine' people across the Navajo Nation.
Celeste Yazzie is from Gallup, NM and also works for the National Indian Youth Leadership Project (NIYLP) as an experiential educator. She has been an elementary school teacher at Uplift Charter School in Gallup, as well as a PE and 5th grade teacher at Atsa Biyaazh Elementary School. She was also a middle school/high school personal wellness teacher in Albuquerque. She earned both her bachelors’ degree in History and her masters’ degree in Elementary Education from the University of New Mexico. Celeste has also been involved in the Shiprock community as an elementary basketball and track coach, and as an advisor for the Northern Dine' Youth Committee. She has also been engaged in Native youth leadership development and service projects across the Southwest, as well as working with tribes in the Pacific Northwest.
Lula BegayPlanning Team Member
Lula was born at Toadlena, NM. She grew up splitting her time between boarding schools and Shiprock. She graduated from high school in 1967 from Riverside Indian School in Anadarko, OK. She went on to attend Bacone College in Muskogee, OK, San Juan College in Farmington, NM, UNM Albuquerque, and Fielding Graduate University in Santa Barbara, CA. Lula earned her BS, MA, and Ed.D all in education. Lula has a K-12 New Mexico teaching certification as well as a K-12 certification in Modern Classical Native Language and Bilingual Education. She has her TESOL endorsement as well as an endorsement to teach Navajo Language. Now teaching Navajo Language and Culture at Farmington High School, Lula enters her fourth decade of work with Navajo students. Lula has raised three children: Nathaniel, Shawn, and Marcia, and has six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. After a lifetime in education, Lula still has a dream: to teach young Navajos to become Navajo language and culture teachers, and to witness Dream Dine' Charter School become a place of hope, health and strength!
Gavin SosaDirector of Operations
Gavin moved to New Mexico in 2002. He taught English/Language Arts for 6 years in the small town of Navajo, NM. He was also a successful cross country and track coach, with his girls and boys teams winning numerous State Championships. After leaving the classroom in 2008, Gavin attended Stanford University’s Graduate School of Education, earning his master’s degree in educational leadership. After completing his degree he returned to the Southwest, working as a Leadership Fellow at the Native American Community Academy (NACA) in Albuquerque. As a NACA Leadership Fellow Gavin worked with NACA’s founders and administrators to learn about the charter school start-up process and school leadership. In 2012 he moved to Shiprock to coach the Diné College cross country and track programs, and to work with the Dream Diné Charter School founding team. Along with working with the students, staff and families of Dream Diné as Director of Operations, Gavin is also involved with various community projects across Shiprock.
Roselyn BegayPlanning Team
Dream Diné's first lead administrator was one of our planning team members: Roselyn Begay. Ms. Begay is from the Shiprock community and has dedicated her life to education on and around the Navajo Nation. She received her BS in Elementary Education in 1976 from the University of New Mexico, with a minor in Bilingual Education. She then earned a Masters in Elementary Education in 1981, and a year later she received an Education Specialist Certificate, both from UNM. In 1995 Ms. Begay earned an Elementary Education Administration Certificate from Northern Arizona University. In addition, she continued her education by taking post graduate courses at Fielding Graduate University in Santa Barbara, CA from 2001 to 2004. Roselyn has been a Navajo language and culture teacher for more than 25 years. She was also an elementary school principal for 10 years here in Shiprock, where she applied for and received a grant that allowed her school to implement the district’s only Dual Language program at the time.