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Investing In Early Childhood Education: NTU Expands Program and Curriculum

Navajo Technical University in Crownpoint, New Mexico has announced the hiring of Rhiannon Gishey, Ed.D. of Greasewood Springs, Arizona. Dr. Gishey will assist with the implementation of NTU’s recently accredited Bachelor of Science degree program in Early Childhood Multicultural Education and to eventually develop the program into a master’s degree.

Gishey comes to Navajo Tech with over 10 years of experience in the education field. She began her career teaching at Greasewood Springs Community School, Inc., from 2000-2005; at Gila Crossing Community School in Laveen, Arizona, from 2005-2006; then in the Creighton School District in Phoenix from 2006-2010. She most recently served as site supervisor at Grand Canyon University.

Gishey earned her undergraduate degree in Theater from Arizona State University in 2000, and subsequently earned both master’s and doctorate degrees while working full-time as an educator. She received her master’s degree from Northern Arizona University in Bilingual Multicultural Education and her doctorate degree in Educational Administration and Supervision at ASU—where she also worked as a faculty associate in math and science for ASU’s English Language Learners program.

“My research was in urban education, which has a large multicultural student population. What I learned from my research will help with my teaching,” said Gishey, who also explained how her master’s degree in Bilingual Multicultural Education emphasized language, linguistics, and the fusing of different cultures into education.

When NTU’s fall semester begins in August, Gishey expects to teach four classes, all of which are 300-400 level courses. While doing so, she has been given the responsibility of expanding NTU’s Early Childhood Multicultural Education program into a master’s degree as well as revising the current Bachelor of Science degree for alignment with the New Mexico Public Education Department and compatibility with other state universities and colleges.

Before doing so, however, Gishey said she would be spending the summer reviewing NTU’s current early childhood curriculum and textbooks as well as brushing up on the recommended early childhood standards for the state of New Mexico.

“I’m really glad to be back to Navajo Country, and I’m really excited to be part of NTU,” said Gishey, whose clans are Coyote Pass born for Red House. “It’s going to be a lot of work ahead to get the program going, but there’s a lot happening. I’m excited about it.”

NTU’s Early Childhood Multicultural Education program started in 2001 as a three credit hour, entry-level introductory course, which eventually developed into a certificate program, an associate’s degree, and finally a bachelor’s degree after the Higher Learning Commission approved it in January 2014.

The program requires approximately 128 credit hours to complete and includes two tracks, one with an emphasis in birth through age 4 and the other geared towards birth through age 8. Both tracks prepare students to obtain early childhood licensure in the state of New Mexico and align with NTU’s Bachelor of Arts degree in Diné Culture, Language, and Leadership to reinforce the multicultural aspect of the program.

For more information about NTU’s Bachelor of Science degree in Early Childhood Multicultural Education, contact Della Begay at or by calling 505-786-4304.