SANTA YNEZ, Calif. – Niki Sandoval was recently named education director of the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians where she will be responsible for overseeing the tribe’s education programs for tribal students.
Sandoval, who grew up on the Santa Ynez Reservation, attended local public schools and received a Ph.D. in education in 2007 from the University of California at Santa Barbara.
“We are thrilled that Niki accepted the position to direct our Education Department,” said Sarah Moses, chairwoman of the tribe’s seven-member Education Committee. “Not only has she lived the tribal life on our reservation, she has also ventured out and experienced life off the reservation in Washington, D.C. and other locations. She brings many experiences to her new role that will be invaluable to our tribal children.”
The responsibility of the education director includes developing programs that enhance the learning experiences of Santa Ynez Chumash students, building relationships with educators at levels ranging from kindergarten through 12th grade to university, and ensuring that tribal students of all ages realize their full potential.
“The education director position is a dream job for me,” Sandoval said. “It brings me great joy to be able to utilize my experiences and knowledge base to help Chumash students strive for excellence. Education is the key to developing our next generation of leadership.”
Sandoval received her undergraduate degree in public relations from Pepperdine University and M.A. in museum studies from George Washington University before attending UCSB.
With previous positions at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, Sandoval was most recently with the Nonprofit Support Center where she directed their consulting practice.
“Bringing Niki on board as our education director is a winning situation for us,” said Vincent Armenta, tribal chairman of the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians. “She is an excellent role model for our children and she represents the future of our tribe.”