Ahniwake Rose 
Cherokee Nation/ Muscogee Creek
Executive Director
E-mail: arose@niea.org

Ahniwake Rose has served as the Executive Director of the National Indian Education Association (NIEA), since 2012. As the most inclusive Native education organization in the Country, NIEA advocates for educational excellence, opportunity, and equity for all American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian students through active support of traditional Native cultures and values.

A Native to Oklahoma, Rose has spent her career with other nonprofits and mission-driven organizations in the education sector. As the Policy Director with the National Congress of American Indians, she led its policy making efforts on education and health. She also ushered in a new era of culturally-based education within the U.S. Department of Education through her work under President Bush’s Executive Order on American Indian and Alaska Native education.

Rose serves on several education and youth related boards, including the National Indian Youth Council. She is a mother of two daughters, Waleah and Tahna and a member of the Cherokee Nation and also of Muscogee descent.


Diana Cournoyer
Oglala Sioux Tribe
Program Manager
E-mail: dcournoyer@niea.org

Diana works on the implementation and assessment of Common Core State Standards, by supporting tribes and Native Communities in their transition to utilize college and career ready standards. Her primary focus is to work closely with Native communities, organizations, and researchers to provide support for community/academic partnerships that affect local and national policy. Previously Diana worked with the Oglala Lakota College Graduate Studies Department to manage the Education Administration Professional Development Grant. Her work realigned the current education Administration curriculum and objectives with national and South Dakota State Educational standards.


Matt de Ferranti
Legislative Director
E-mail: mdeferranti@niea.org

As NIEA’s Legislative Director, Matt develops, directs, and implements the organization’s work to improve educational outcomes for Native students. Matt comes to NIEA from the Education Trust, where he served as Director of Legislative Affairs during the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, which culminated in enactment of the Every Student Succeeds Act. Previous advocacy and government relations experience includes work as Policy Counsel for Feeding America and Director of Federal Agency Relations for Habitat for Humanity. Before working in advocacy and government relations, Matt served as an attorney for cities in California and Texas and as Chief of Staff for a Texas State Representative. Matt began his career teaching through Teach for America in Houston’s Fifth Ward.


Leah Salgado
Pascua Yaqui
Membership Recruiting Manager
E-mail: lsalgado@niea.org

As Membership Recruitment Manager, Leah Salgado is responsible for membership communications, membership relations, and sponsorship outreach. Her focus is on joining Native and non-Native groups together to increase educational opportunities for Native students. Before joining NIEA, Leah worked for Cornell University as the Assistant Director of the Cornell Forensics Department. In her position, she conducted outreach to students in the Cornell and the Ithaca communities, ran a debate program for incarcerated juveniles, and taught workshops on debate and argumentation in South Korea and China.

photo - dimple patel

Dimple Patel
Tribal and State Policy Associate
E-mail: dpatel@niea.org

At NIEA, Dimple supports the development and facilitation of tribal engagement in states as it relates to the implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). She is responsible for building and bridging relationships with key stakeholders including tribal governments, Native education advocates, educators, parents, and district and state leaders to ensure that Native students are supported under ESSA. Dimple joined the NIEA community immediately upon graduating with her Master’s degree in Urban Education Policy from Brown University, where she interned with the Bureau of Indian Education. In the past Dimple has also worked as a youth worker and public health advocate.