Colin Kippen chosen as NIEA executive director


WASHINGTON – Colin Kippen has been selected by the National Indian Education Association board of directors to serve as its new executive director. He will undertake the leadership of NIEA, the largest Indian education organization.

NIEA was incorporated in 1970 as a membership-based organization with a mission to “support traditional Native cultures and values, to enable Native learners to become contributing members of their communities, to promote Native control of educational institutions, and to improve educational opportunities and resources for American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians throughout the United States.”

Currently, Kippen is the executive director of the Native Hawaiian Education Council, which assesses and coordinates innovative education programs for Native Hawaiians and makes policy recommendations to governmental entities to improve the education and well-being of Native Hawaiians.

As an advocate for American Indians, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians, Kippen has worked in a number of venues including as senior counsel to the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, deputy administrator for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs in charge of protecting and expanding Native Rights, chief judge of the Suquamish Indian Tribe on the Port Madison Indian Reservation in Western Washington, appellate judge for several Indian tribes in Washington and Oregon, and trial attorney and prosecutor in King County, Washington.

Kippen is also a former member of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation and Act Review Committee, including serving as its chairman.

“Colin Kippen has been a longtime friend of the association, and we welcome his passion and enthusiasm for providing a long-time voice for Native education. It is important to not lose momentum during this important time in education reform and our members understand what he has brought NIEA and they will see what he will bring. We are confident in our selection,” said NIEA President Patricia L. Whitefoot.

Kippen has a B.A. in political science from the University of Hawaii, Honolulu, M.A. in urban and regional planning and a Juris Doctor from the University of Iowa. He recently was appointed by President Barack Obama to the Commission on Presidential Scholars.

He will begin his new position with the NIEA in the second week of August. During the executive director search, the board appointed Dr. Gerald Gipp to serve as the interim executive director.