Cherokee Nation/ Muscogee Creek
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.
Rusty Creed Brown
Lenape (Delaware Tribe of Indians)
Field Operation Specialist
Rusty’s role as the Field Operations Specialist is to support the facilitation, establishment, and maintenance of relationships among schools, tribes, and other stakeholders. Rusty served as Osage Nation’s Natural Resource Specialist, and its Child Support Enforcement Director. He worked with the Sac and Fox Nation as its Policy Analyst and Tribal Administrator. In Alaska, he was a community outreach liaison with villages along the Chukchi Sea and the North Slope. Rusty received his BS, in Natural Science, from the University of Alaska Anchorage; and received a JD and MS from the University of Tulsa; concentrating on Native American and Indigenous Peoples Rights.
Through research, policy analysis, and advocacy, Kathryn collaborates with the legislative team to support Native students and families in reaching their fullest potential. While an undergraduate, she interned for Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), wrote policy papers at the Kennedy School of Government, and served as the President of the Institute of Politics. After studying civil liberties and federal law, Kathryn graduated from Harvard University. Awarded Harvard’s Richardson Public Service Fellowship, Kathryn worked at a cradle-through-career nonprofit startup that combined community organizing, data analysis, and collective impact strategies to support equitable education in her hometown of Oceanside, CA.
Oglala Sioux Tribe
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
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.
As Legislative Analyst, Adrianne supports NIEA’s federal and state advocacy for excellence in Native education through policy analysis and research. Adrianne joined NIEA following her graduation from Yale University, where she worked with the Native American Cultural Center and Association of Native Americans at Yale. During her time in college, Adrianne worked at a law firm and served as an intern at the White House.
Tribal and State Policy Manager
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.
Jacob Tsotigh, Jr.
Tribal Education Specialist
Jacob S. Tsotigh, Jr. (M.Ed), has been involved in American Indian education programs for the past 38 years specializing in parent committee training, culturally responsive pedagogy, Title VI Indian Education programming, and school improvement. He previously served the South Central Comprehensive Center as Indian Education TA Coordinator in the four state region of Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico and Oklahoma. He served for 12 years as the Indian Education Director for Anadarko (Oklahoma) Public Schools, and countless years serving in the capacity of trainer and providing technical assistance for Indian Education programs. Mr. Tsotigh is past president of the Oklahoma Council for Indian Education (OCIE) and a longtime member of the National Indian Education Association (NIEA). He has been married to Alana Quetone Tsotigh, a retired elementary school teacher, for 39 years and has three children and one deceased. He is a 4/4 citizen of the Kiowa Tribe.
Judi Urquhart brings over two decades of fundraising experience to her role as Director of Development. Most recently, she served as Director of Planning and Development for the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe where, in a year’s time, she and her team raised over $2 million in federal funding. Prior to that, Judi served as a fundraising consultant at Wakeby Fire and Associates where she raised over $4 million in foundational and federal funds for the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, the Wopanaak Language Reclamation Project and the North American Indian Center of Boston. Judi holds a B.A. from Mount Holyoke College and an M.B.A. from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. Judi will develop and implement a multi-faceted strategy to build and strengthen the organization’s funding base.