Cheryl Kulas, retired executive director of the North Dakota Indian Affairs Commission, and Denise Juneau, a former New Town teacher and now Montana state superintendent of Public Instruction, will be honored with prestigious awards by the National Indian Education Association at its convention Oct. 22-25 in Milwaukee, Wis.
Kulas will receive the NIEA Lifetime Achievement Award and Juneau will receive the NIEA Educator of the Year Award. Six other individuals also will be honored.
The NIEA award winners have demonstrated exceptional achievement or performance in providing quality instruction to American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian students.
Kulas was executive director of the N.D. Indian Affairs Commission for eight years until retiring this year. Her past experiences include serving as director of Indian education in N.D.; and consultant to the U.S. Office of Indian Education, Improving American Schools Act. She has served with a number of North Dakota organizations and boards. She is a member an enrolled member of the Oglala Lakota Tribe, Pine Ridge, S.D., and a descendant/member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa in N.D. Gov. John Hoeven, in announcing the new commission executive director, Scott Davis, in April, said of Kulas, "Her work in education and state-tribal relations has made a real difference in the lives of countless Native peoples, and especially young tribal members."
Juneau, an enrolled member of the Three Affiliated Tribes on the Fort Berthold Reservation, grew up in Browning, Mont., on the Blackfeet Reservation. She was elected Montana's state school superintendent in 2008 and is the first American Indian woman to win a statewide executive office in Montana. She began her teaching career in New Town where she taught eighth- and ninth-grade English and coached speech and debate. Before being elected to her present post, she was director of Indian education for the Montana Department of Public Instruction. She has a bachelor's degree in English from Montana State University in Bozeman, a master's degree in education from Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass., and a law degree from the University of Montana Law School in Missoula.
NIEA is the largest and oldest Indian education organization in the United States.