Building Capacity: Presidential Honors
Dr. Karen Gayton Swisher Educator Mentor Program
Dr. Karen Gayton Swisher is an enrolled member of the Hunkpapa Dakota/Nakota/Lakota Nations from the Standing Rock Reservation. Her academic credentials include a B.S. in Elementary Education and a M.S. in Elementary School Administration from Northern State University in South Dakota. Dr. Swisher also holds a Doctorate in Education from the University of North Dakota, with specialization in Educational Administration.
She has served as a faculty member at Huron College in South Dakota, the University of Utah, and Arizona State University. During her time at Utah she engaged in research which continues to serve today as a foundation for understanding learning style preferences as valued knowledge for professional development of teachers of American Indian/Alaska Native students. While at Arizona State she was the Director of the Center for Indian Education and editor of the Journal of American Indian Education.
Dr. Swisher’s history at Haskell Indian Nations University includes serving as the Director of the Teacher Training Program and Chair of the Education Department, and the Dean of Instruction. Most notably however, was her appointment as the first female President of Haskell Indian Nations University. Dr. Swisher is a recent retiree with more than 40 years of service to Indian Education and general education. She currently resides on a ranch in North Dakota on the Standing Rock Reservation.
The Dr. Karen Gayton Swisher Educator Mentor Program is designed to provide practiced K-12 teachers with mentorship strategies to enhance the quality of experience of the first year teacher. The Swisher Mentor will engage in training at Haskell Indian Nations University during the summer months to assist in the transition of the first year teacher to the K-12 setting.