Dr. Terri Bissonette.png

DR. TERRI BISSONETTE

Founder/Head of School

Terri Bissonette, EdD., Gnoozhekaaning Anishinaabe, is the Founder and Head of School of AIAD. As an educator with over 15 years of experience, Dr. B’s expertise encompasses K-12 literacy curriculum and instruction; Indian Education with an emphasis on pedagogy, closing achievement gaps, and building and sustaining effective school cultures. She also specializes in resiliency education and restorative best practices for schools serving students who have experienced trauma (especially within the context of historical trauma).

TEACHING STAFF

Anthony Crank

Anthony Crank

Founding Dine’ Culture and Language Teacher

Ezequiel Villanueva

Ezequiel Villanueva

Robotics Teacher

Kenneth Rivera

Kenneth Rivera

Special Education

Mark de la Cruz-Chavez

Mark de la Cruz-Chavez

Dean of Students/Math

Rachel Sohns

Rachel Sohns

Founding Humanities Teacher

Cetan Cristensen

Cetan Cristensen

Founding STEM Teacher

Joanna Peña

Joanna Peña

Instructional Paraprofessional

Liz Torres

Liz Torres

STEAM Teacher

Melissa Moore

Melissa Moore

Art Teacher

Sarah Eck

Sarah Eck

Founding Special Education Teacher

Daniel Price

Daniel Price

Humanities

Julia Fochtman

Julia Fochtman

Multilingual Education Administrator/English Language Development

Mariano Senter

Mariano Senter

Humanities

Nadine Mendez

Nadine Mendez

Office Manager

Sophia Bagola

Sophia Bagola

Lakota Language & Culture

FOUNDING BOARD MEMBERS

Angela Eagle (Co-Chair), Sicangu Lakota.

Angela is a long time Denver community member who brings office administration experience to our board. She is also a grandmother of two DPS students.

Nicholas Martinez (Co-Chair).

Nicholas grew up in Denver and is the Co-Founder of Transform Education Now (TEN), an organization committed to advocating for and empowering disenfranchised parents, families, and communities. Nicholas brings expertise in parent and community organizing to our board.

Kelley Mitchell (Secretary), Dineh.

Kelley has been working and advocating for AIAD as an original founding committee member since 2017. She works for American Indian College Fund and brings a higher education focus to the board.

Brendan Morrison (Treasurer), Tsimshian Nation 

Brendan was born in Ketchikan, Alaska the area where his dad’s family is from. Shortly after he was born his dad joined the Navy, so he grew up traveling a lot in a military family and being exposed to various Indigenous cultures. Brendan received his degree in Political Science and Public Administration from the University of North Dakota and now works as licensed financial professional brokered with New York Life. 

Sena Harjo (Founding Director), Seminole/Choctaw/Creek.

Sena is a long time Denver community member who brings subject matter expertise and community networking to our board. She is also a early childhood educator and a doctoral student at the University of Colorado at Denver.

Anne Chapman (Founding Director), Osage.

Anne is the former founding principal of DCIS-Fairmont, taking that DPS school from red to green in one year. She brings school administration and school start-up expertise to our board.

Michael Frandina (Founding Director).

Michael is an attorney who brings over 10 years of legal experience, especially in tribal and environmental law, to our board. He is also the father of two DPS students.

WaziHanska Cook (Founding Director), Oglala Lakota.

WaziHanska is the Senior Managing Director of Teach for America’s Native Alliance. He has over 30 years of experience in the field of education, specializing in educating Indigenous youth. WaziHanska is also a former president and former board member of National Indian Education Assn.

Lori Ventimiglia (Founding Director).

Lori is the Director of Advancement for the Tipi Raisers, a cross-cultural youth serving organization. Lori is also the former Director of New Schools Development at Colorado League of Charter Schools. She is also the founder of a successful Colorado charter school.