Deer River leaders recognized at Minnesota Indian Education Association conference
November 20, 2017 by Blandin Foundation
Each year, the Minnesota Indian Education Association (MIEA) presents awards to deserving individuals who are working hard and doing inspiring things in Indian Country. This year, five of the 2017 MIEA Award recipients were from ISD 317 Deer River!
During his acceptance speech, Deer River Superintendent Matt Gross offered these words,
“I graduated from high school with 52 other white kids and I went to college where it was mostly white. I interviewed 14 ½ years ago and the interview committee asked, ‘What do you know about working with American Indian kids and American Indian communities?’ and I answered the only way I knew how and that was to say nothing, but I’ll listen and ask questions and I’ll learn and that’s what I’ve tried to do. I learned right away that I was in a place where there’d been hurt and where there wasn’t trust. Fortunately, I’ve been able to surround myself with people who have helped me and that makes this a great honor. Together we’re focusing on hope, happiness and success for all of our children, and we think kids can have this when they’re in a place where they can see themselves and be themselves and have the identity like my partner Sherwin (Obey) talked about earlier. These folks work hard alongside me – nothing we’ve been able to do has been because of my effort alone.”
Congratulations to all the Deer River award recipients!
In the photo from left to right:
Matt Grose – Outstanding Administrator
Sherwin Obey – Outstanding American Indian K-12 Counselor
Jaamal Baird Jr – Outstanding American Indian Male Athlete
Davanee Tibbets – Outstanding American Indian Female Athlete
Gerald White – Deer River Indian Ed Coordinator and Ojibwe Instructor
Not pictured – Amanda Youngrunningcrane – Outstanding American Indian Parent Advisory Committee Member
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