Faith grew up in Santa Fe, New Mexico and is half-Santo Domingo Pueblo (Kewa) and half White. She graduated high school from Native American Preparatory School (NAPS) and then received her B.A. in English and her teaching credentials from Yale University. She received her M.A. in Indian Education from the University of New Mexico.
Prior to coming to SFIS, she taught 8th grade Language Arts in New Haven, CT, for half a year after graduating from college. She also taught writing for the Upward Bound program at SIPI.
At SFIS, she was the 8th grade Reading teacher. She says of her SFIS experience:
2010-2011 was my first year teaching full-time, and getting the teaching position at the Santa Fe Indian School was a dream actualized. However, if you had asked me back in 7th grade if I wanted to be a teacher, I would have told you “No way.” When I was applying for colleges and learning about all the dismal statistics about Native people not in college or dropping out, I somehow correlated that with the reality that there are not enough Native teachers in the classroom. I thought back to my entire school experience and could count all my Native teachers on one hand. I didn’t just want to be a teacher; I wanted to be a teacher of Native students. There is something powerful about being taught by someone who resembles you, shares a similar life experience, or is familiar with your community, especially when you are young and developing your identity.
The underlying concept of my M.A. degree is that our culture and language has direct influence on how we learn. Therefore, my teaching philosophy is really a learning philosophy that life in the classroom and school is just one of many places where learning takes place. There is so much knowledge students bring to school and the classroom, and my job is to help them use that knowledge to learn more and practice being successful so that as they grow they have had the experience of success and will make good choices. Reading my students’ reading journals is eye-opening. When I see that the students are able to make connections between what they are reading and their own lives, I know learning is taking place. I know students are going to go out into life and show their empathy and solve problems for themselves and the world.
Indian Education is my passion. The education of Native Americans is a unique history and has an amazing future ahead of itself. My research interests also express this passion. Ultimately, my passion is learning, not just my own learning but also my daughter’s learning and my students’ learning.
We tell the students to take care of their school, that this is a beautiful place to be. We have so much here and we are all blessed with these wonderful buildings, classrooms, computers, and books. Therefore, I can only desire success and happiness for our students.