Faculty & Staff
The Institute for American Indian Education consists of Native Faculty in the College of Education and the College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Native American Studies. Collectively, IAIE faculty recognize the critical nature of preparing pre-service educators, administrators (K-12 and higher education), non-teaching educational professionals, researchers, and policy makers to work with Native People in the state.
*To View Biographies click on the Faculty's name
Director of IAIE
Department of Language,
Literacy, Sociocultural Studies
Department of Language,
Literacy, Sociocultural Studies
Dr. Sims is from Acoma Pueblo and is an Associate Professor in the Department of Language, Literacy, and Sociocultural Studies in the College of Education at the University of New Mexico (UNM). She is also Director of the American Indian Language Policy Research & Teacher Training Center that she established in 2008. She completed her doctoral work at the University of California at Berkeley, focusing on issues of heritage language maintenance and revitalization among American Indian tribes. The Center engages in public advocacy for Indigenous language maintenance and revitalization initiatives and provides year round training support for Native language instructors serving in community and school-based language initiatives. The Native American Language Teachers’ Institute (NALTI), a week long summer training program sponsored by the Center is held at the UNM campus for Native speakers from various tribes throughout the southwest as well as from other regions of the United States. The Center’s outreach to tribes also includes training support for language initiatives in early childhood education, an increasingly critical area of concern for many tribes.
Prepared to provide consultation for:
- Planning and Facilitation support for community forums, symposia and community dialogue concerning language revitalization and maintenance issues.
- Design and development of community-based language program needs assessments
- Language grant development and preparation
- Technical assistance and collaborative support to indigenous nations in:
- language program planning and implementation,
- language curriculum development,
- materials development for language teaching, including oral instruction, Native literacy and virtual learning
- language assessment issues and
- professional development for American Indian language teachers serving in community or school-based language programs
Native American Studies
Leola Tsinnajinnie Paquin, Ph.D. [Diné/Filipina & accepted into Santa Ana Pueblo] is an Assistant Professor at the University of New Mexico (UNM) in Native American Studies. Her research and service activities focus on Indigenous educational sovereignty, decolonizing education, and community-centered Native nation building. She is a member of and has co-chaired the UNM Diversity Council Curriculum Subcommittee and is an associated faculty member with the Institute for American Indian Education (IAIE). She was a fellow in the Student Experience Project and the Expanding the Course-Based Undergraduate Research Experience Faculty programs in 2020-2021. Additionally, she was an Academic Affairs General Education Faculty Fellow on Race and Social Justice (2018-2020). Outside of UNM, she served on the American Indian Studies Association Council from 2017-2020 (President for 2019-2020 term). Beyond academia, her outreach has included sitting on the boards of the New Mexico American Civil Liberties Union (2017-2020), Tribal Entities Connect (2018-present), and the Torreon Community Alliance (current Vice-President). Most recently, she has focused on community engaged scholarship with the Cuba Independent Schools and Bernalillo Public Schools Districts.
UNM Teacher Education, Educational Leadership Program
Shawn Secatero, Ph.D. is a member of the Canoncito Band of Navajo and is an Associate Professor in the UNM Teacher Education, Educational Leadership program. His research concentrates on holistic learning, Indigenous leadership, dual enrollment, rural education, and higher education. Dr. Secatero has 30 years of teaching experience in state and tribally controlled schools and 20 years of leadership experience that includes the Gates Millennium Scholars Program, Canoncito School to Work Program, NMSU Grants Native American Program and other Native American leadership initiatives. He has published and presented research on his highly acclaimed Corn Pollen Model that has inspired organizations, students, and schools in promoting research, service, and teaching. Dr. Secatero coordinates the UNM Native Educational Sovereignty in Teaching and Leadership (NESTL) program that encompasses several cohorts including the American Leadership in Doctoral Education (NALE), Promoting our Leadership, Learning, and Empowering our Nations (POLLEN), American Indian Professional Educators Collaborative (AIPEC), and serves as a member of the UNM COEHS Scholarship Committee. He also serves as a guest faculty at the Brown School of Social Work at Washington University and advises the UNM Society of Native American Graduate Students. Also, he is the founder of the Striking Eagle Native American Invitational which is one of the largest Native high school events that bridges athletics with a leadership academy at UNM.
Native American Studies
Lloyd L. Lee, Ph.D. is an enrolled citizen of the Navajo Nation, Director of the Center for Regional Studies (CRS) at the University of New Mexico, editor of the Wicazo Sa Review journal, and Professor and faculty Graduate Director in the Native American Studies department. He is the author of Diné Identity in a 21st Century World (2020), Diné Masculinities: Conceptualizations and Reflections (2013), co-author of Native Americans and the University of New Mexico (2017), and edited Navajo Sovereignty: Understandings and Visions of the Diné People (2017) and Diné Perspectives: Reclaiming and Revitalizing Navajo Thought (2014). His research focuses on Native American identity, masculinities, leadership, philosophies, and Native Nation building.
Department of Health,
Exercise, & Sports Sciences
Lorenda Belone, PhD, MPH, is an Associate Professor, Department of Health, Exercise & Sports Sciences, College of Education and Human Sciences, University of New Mexico. Dr. Belone is a Diné/Navajo researcher who for the past 210 years has utilized a community-based participatory research (CBPR) approach with an Indigenous paradigm. In the past 165 years she has collaborated in the co-creation, piloting, and now rigorous testing through National Institute on Drug Abuse funding as a Principal Investigator of an intergenerational family prevention program with three sovereign Tribal Nations of the southwest (R01, 2014-2021). In addition, over the past 154 years she has co-investigated the national examination of research partnering processes to strengthen the science of CBPR in the hopes of improving health and health equity outcomes through National Institute of Nursing Research study (R01, 2015-2021). Dr. Belone is also the co-D Director of the Community Engagement and Dissemination Core of the Transdisciplinary Research Equity & Engagement Center funded by the National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities (U54, 2017-2022). Recently, Dr. Belone received funding from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (R01, 2020-2025) and as the Principal Investigator will examine the implementation of an Indigenous family prevention program with six southwest tribal communities.
Dr. Belone teaches, Introduction to Public & Community Health, Principles of Epidemiology, Social Determinants and Multicultural Health, Research Design, Epidemiological Principles in Health Education, Advanced Multicultural Research and Multicultural Health Beliefs, and Field Experience. In the summer, Dr. Belone co-teaches:
In the College of Population Health within the UNM Health Sciences Center, Community-Based Participatory Research Institute: Indigenous and Critical Methodologies.
Department of Teacher Education,
Educational Leadership & Policy
Dr. William T. “Toby” Holmes (Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma) an Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership in the Teacher Education and Educational Leadership and Policy Department at the University of New Mexico is a native New Mexican. Dr. Holmes’ research focuses on two areas of educational leadership. First, he is interested in leadership communications through the use of Motivating Language Theory, and second, he is working to develop an emergent educational leadership framework that supports culturally and linguistically relevant education called Culturally Sustaining Instructional Leadership. Dr. Holmes is a leading author in these areas and has presented nationally and internationally on these subjects. Dr. Holmes is a retired school and district administrator from the Clark County School District in Las Vegas with elementary, secondary, and central office experience and had the privilege of leading a five-star inner city Title I elementary school prior to his retirement. At the graduate level, Dr. Holmes has worked extensively in the areas of communication, organizational change, social justice, and pre-service preparation of principals and superintendents.
Dr. Holmes is prepared to provide consultation on:
- School and District Improvement and Turnaround
- Principal and Superintendent Support, Mentoring, and Coaching
- Principal and Superintendent Executive Leadership Communications
- Culturally Sustaining Instructional Leadership in Support of Culturally and Linguistically Relevant Education
- Multicultural Studies Professional Development for School and District Leaders
Department of Individual,
Family & Community Education
Terri Flowerday (Swiss/Lakota), is a Professor of Educational Psychology in the Department of Individual, Family & Community Education and Chester C. Travelstead Distinguished Fellow at the University of New Mexico (UNM). She came to New Mexico 20 years ago from Nebraska after teaching at the University of Nebraska and University of Notre Dame. She earned degrees in Secondary Education Social Studies (B.S.), Educational Psychology (M.A.) and Psychological and Cultural Studies (Ph.D.). Dr. Flowerday’s research focuses on student motivation for academics especially among Indigenous and under-represented populations. She is interested in creating pathways for Indigenous students to successfully transition to post-secondary education, and much of her work focuses on mentoring graduate students as they prepare to assume roles in institutions of higher education. Dr. Flowerday teaches courses in Motivation, Cognitive and Behavioral Learning Strategies, and College Teaching Seminar. Publications include:
1) Shell, D.F. & Flowerday, T. (2019). Affordances and Attention: Learning and Culture. In K.A. Renninger & S.E. Hidi (Eds.) Cambridge Handbook of Motivation and learning
2) McInerney, D. M. & Flowerday, T. (2017) Indigenous issues in education and research: Looking forward. Contemporary Educational Psychology
3) Flowerday, T. (2016) Using motivation to teach motivation. In M. C. Smith, & N. DeFrates-Densch (Eds.), Challenges and Innovations in Educational Psychology Teaching and Learning
4) Lillemyr, O.F., Sobstad, F., Marder, K., & Flowerday, T. (2011). A multicultural perspective on play and learning in primary school. International Journal of Early Childhood.
Department of Language,
Literacy, & Sociocultural Studies
Dr. Vincent Werito (Diné) is an Associate Professor in the College of Education and Health Sciences at the University of New Mexico in the Department of Language, Literacy, and Socio-cultural Studies. His research interests are in the following areas: teacher education; Indigenous pedagogy; Dine (Navajo) Education; Navajo Language language/cultural revitalization; Indigenous Nation building and cultural/ecological sustainability. His past research focused on the experiences of Indigenous youth in education and identifying exemplary practices in the education of Indigenous youth. His latest research projects examine community engaged research partnerships, community defined understandings of wellbeing, and successful aging with a health research focus.
Joshua Frank Cárdenas
Visiting Lecturer III,
American Indian Education Dept. of Language,
Literacy & Sociocultural Studies