Louise Naranjo is the Director of Student Living Programs at SFIS. She is from Cochiti Pueblo and lives with her husband, children and grandchildren in Santa Clara Pueblo. Ms. Naranjo has an extensive educational history, starting with a B.A. in Journalism and University Studies from the College of Santa Fe, a second B.A. in K-12 Education with a Language Arts Concentration including Language Arts, Social Studies and Journalism. She also earned her Ed.M. in Language and Reading from Harvard University Graduate School of Education. She also holds an M.A. in Educational Leadership from New Mexico Highlands University.
Ms. Naranjo began her career in education with the Bernalillo Public Schools under the Indian Education Program, and then worked with Santa Clara Pueblo as the Education Director for the tribe. In 1988, she was hired at SFIS as a Chapter 1 teacher and a Reading teacher and taught Language Arts in the Middle School. In 1991, she made the decision to return to school after realizing how important reading was across the curriculum. After Harvard, she returned to the classroom for one year and then held several consecutive critical roles at SFIS, including Teacher Supervisor for the High School, Middle School Coordinator, and Director of Circles of Wisdom, an Annenberg Foundation grant on Pueblo Indian community-based education, which has since produced several key studies supported by the National Science Foundation, as well as a Coalition of Educators for Native American Children (CENAC). Circles of Wisdom was a major highlight, allowing Ms. Naranjo to work with SFIS feeder schools, in the field of professional development and to oversee cutting edge research on Indigenous place-based and community-based education.
In 2002, Ms. Naranjo became the Director of Student Living Programs, which was an ideal opportunity to reconnect directly with students. Student Living is a school-wide program that focuses on the whole student, including his/her social, academic, and wellness development. As an educator, Ms. Naranjo describes herself:
"I absolutely love our students and believe that they are capable, positive, good young people and that what we try to do here is to help them and guide them to make the best decisions for their future. Hopefully what we’ve taught our students is a reminder of their core values, unwritten and not explicit, but always been a part of our system. I give a lot of credit to my staff members, and 90% of them come from the communities our children come from, and they know the expectations of the traditional aspects of the Pueblos and other tribes. That’s just integrated into everything they do for our kids. I think we really do take to heart the statements that are made by our leadership in saying that the students we have now, that many of them will be put into tribal leadership positions. I am confident we are preparing them to step into those roles.
I hope that our students will step into positions that will hold a balance for our communities. So that there are enough students who will go on to postsecondary education so they can prepare themselves and then come back and to engage with the positions that will help our communities get ahead in terms of economic development, self-sufficiency, caring in services that our people need. And on the other hand, to have enough students who go back to our communities to become our tribal leaders, our traditional and spiritual leaders who will perpetuate our culture and language. Each of those paths are equally important and equally needed in our communities."