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Marlena Peshlakai

Marlena Peshlakai

Grades 3-4-5 Teacher

My name is Marlena Peshlakai and I am of the Towering House clan born for the Bitter Water people. I was born and raised in Shiprock, NM. I am an Arizona State University (ASU) alumni. Go Sun Devils! My hobbies are outdoor activities such as hiking, camping and fishing. I enjoy spending quality time with my family and dog. I love watching football and I am a fan of the Arizona Cardinals! In my spare time, I also love to travel and see new places. 

Note: Dream Dine is excited that Marlena has chosen to become a teacher through her Americorps service experience at the school.

Tina Deschenie


The head administrator at Dream Diné Charter School is Ta’neeszahnii  born for Tó’aheedlíini, her cheii was of the Tewa from First Mesa at Polacca, AZ, and her nálí are Bit’ahnii. Deschenie has worked in K-12, and in higher education for over 29 years. She received her undergraduate degree from Fort Lewis College, her master’s degree from UNM and her doctoral degree from NMSU. She came on board with Dream Diné in late fall 2016. Deschenie is mother to three grown children and married to a program administrator at San Juan College; together with her husband, they enjoy spending time with their grandchildren.

Paris Charles

Americorps, Indigenous Educator Corps, Classroom Aide

Paris is a part-time Americorps staff member, she's part of the Indigenous Educator Corps, serving as a classroom aide.  She is a student at San Juan College and a graduate of Kirtland High School.

Christine Toledo

Grades K-1-2 Teacher

Christine Toledo holds a Level II Elementary License with a Reading endorsement and has taught for over 30 years in Bureau of Indian Affairs, Bureau of Indian Education and NM public schools.  She earned her bachelor's degree at Northern Arizona University and acquired her reading endorsement through the University of New Mexico.

Kristel White

Office Manager

Kristel White is currently a full-time student at the Dine College branch campus, studying psychology in the bachelor’s program, with a plan to earn her associate's degree in Social and Behavioral Science in May 2019. She has resided in Shiprock all of her life, except for a brief time when she lived in Seattle, WA to attend the Art Institute where she majored in Web Design and Interactive Media. Her clans are Hooghan̨łani, Ozei Tachiinii, Ashiihi, and Kinłinchiini.

She has an artistic fiancé, Leland, and they are proud parents to their son Maysah. They have a dog named Belle and two cats named Sweetie and Grimace.

Kristel was part of the internship for the Greatlakes Project Success while working at the Student Success Center at the Diné College South Campus Branch. There she assisted the advisors and secretary with office duties.

She shares,  “I am very happy to be part of the dream team here at Dream Diné.“