School of Education Receives $1.1M Grant, Launches Program to Aid 20 Future American Indian Administ

The university’s School of Education received a $1.1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education to promote the growth of American Indian administrators across the state.

According to a university press release, the focus of the grant is “to address the shortage of American Indian administrators in the state’s public school districts with a large American Indian student population.”

This project, known as the First Americans’ Educational Leadership (FAEL) project, will be led by Dr. Camille Goins, assistant professor of the department of educational leadership and specialties and director of the middle grades program. In addition, Goins is an alumna of UNCP, where she earned her Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Master of Public administration.

“We are really excited and looking forward to implementing this program,” Goins said.

“This university was established to train American Indian teachers and with this program we are building upon that foundation with a focus on the administrative role,” she added.

Between January 2019 and January 2020, 20 participants are expected to participate in the FAEL project.

“The project is designed to help participants attain a Master of School Administration degree or an Add-on in School Administration. Additionally, it will help graduate students acquire a principal licensure and complete two years of administration with ongoing support and professional development through induction support,” the release stated.

The FAEL project will also provide support in a number of ways for these students.

Funding will help students cover expenses such as “tuition, books, exam fees, stipend, childcare, mentoring services, among others,” the release stated.

In addition, the university will partner with the Lumbee Tribe, Public Schools of Robeson County, Hoke County Schools and Scotland County Schools to assist participants in job placement and preparation.

According to the release, “American Indians represent less than one percent of school administrators in North Carolina.”

This is no surprise to Mary Ann Jacobs.

“The stats on American Indian education have been poor for a very long time,” Dr. Mary Ann Jacobs, associate professor and chair of the Department of American Indian Studies, said.

“American Indian educational attainment has always been far below that of the general population because of the rural location of many American Indian communities, the negative history of American Indian Education (boarding school), racism toward AI students and communities in American public schools and the high rates of poverty that make seeking a higher education degree an unrealistic goal for many American Indian students,” Jacobs added.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, “In 2007, some 44 percent of American Indians/ Alaska Natives age 25 or older had attended some college or completed an undergraduate or graduate degree.”

Moreover, while almost half of American Indians attended college or earned a degree, 36 percent finished high school without pursuing a college degree, with 20 percent failing to finish high school (nces.ed.gov).

The FAEL project is just one initiative of many launched by the university to aid American Indian students as they prepare for success in academia and in their individual professions. UNCP was founded in 1887, as “Croatan Normal School,” a college established for the training and education of American Indian teachers (uncp.edu).

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