Patricia Sandoval is the Director of Planning and Evaluation at SFIS. She is from the village of Paguate, the Pueblo of Laguna. She attended Paguate Day School until the 4th grade when her family relocated to the small town of Bernalillo due to her father’s work as a BIA police officer. She attended Catholic school, Our Lady of Sorrows in Bernalillo, and then St. Catherine’s Indian School of which she is a graduate—all the while spending weekends and summers at home in Laguna. Mrs. Sandoval holds a B.S. in Biology from New Mexico State University, a BS from the College of Santa Fe where she earned her teaching credential, a Master’s in Educational Leadership from New Mexico Highlands University, and is a Ph.D. student in Education at New Mexico State University. Her teaching experience includes college-level Anatomy and Physiology at Standing Rock Community College in North Dakota, 9th-12th grade Chemistry, Physical Sciences and Physics at St. Catherine’s and Chemistry, Physics and creating Ethnobotany at SFIS.
Administratively, as a graduate of the Cultivating Our Own to Lead (COOL) Program at SFIS, Mrs. Sandoval has been giving back to tribal communities in New Mexico over the past decade, most notably as the Assistant Principal/Principal of the Walatowa High Charter School. She helped to establish WHCS, working closely with the Tribal Education Department. At SFIS, prior to her role in Planning and Evaluation, Mrs. Sandoval designed the Evening Learning Program. Part of the 21st Century program at SFIS today is based on that original concept. In addition to her administrative leadership, Mrs. Sandoval recounts classroom successes as major career highlights. With her own mentor, former Georgetown University science professor, Dr. Hammer, she and her Ethnobotany course completed extraordinarily complex tasks that merged organic chemistry class into a multi-science course grounded in culturally-rooted curriculum. Valuing plant and medicinal knowledge in communities first, students engaged in complicated work through a Native lens that Mrs. Sandoval identifies as constructivist pedagogy. Through this work, she and her students discovered an antibiotic, so at the end of the course, students were rewarded with the joy of discovery.
Today, while Mrs. Sandoval’s work includes Bureau accountabilities and resources, she has co-constructed the forward movement at the school known as the Strategic Planning, which envisions the fullest potential of the school:
"I’m passionate about students really understanding this dynamic system that they are a part of. Not only as it relates to education and the classroom, but as it relates to the whole conversation about how we happen to be where we are in this system, right now, that we call the world. There are so many ways that we can expand the current idea of what education is—it is so much more than Chemistry, Physics, Language Arts, Social Studies—and there is a way that we can share this with staff so that we can all see that there can be a different way of doing things. Culturally-relevance through community-based education should be the umbrella at an Indian School, not just a thing that we do; but who we are. I dream that all children are successful, and I want to work to create the avenues for that success. We have a college prep curriculum, we send students to college, and we continue to see students finish college. That drive was instilled by parents, grandparents. We help those students along and help them reach that end result, but we also have students who do not go to college, and we need to continually explore their needs in order to meet them so that all our students can attain success that fulfills them."