Ariz. - A Kayenta Middle School teacher got the surprise of her
career when she was presented with a $25,000 check at a school assembly
Arts teacher Patricia Saganey Wayne, from Kayenta, was given the
check that came as part of the 2003 Milken Family Foundation National
is the second Navajo to receive the award. Last year the award went
to Charlotte Begay, an adult education coordinator with the child
education program at Wingate Elementary School in Ft. Wingate, N.M.
is Nakai Dine'e (Mexican People Clan), born for Todich'ii'nii (Bitter
Water Clan). Her chei's clan is Kinyaa'nii (Towering House People
Clan) and her nali's clan is Tl'iziani (Many Goats Clan).
Superintendent Tom Horne traveled from Phoenix to make the surprise
announcement and presentation. Horne spoke about the importance
of teachers before making the announcement.
then announced Wayne's name. Holding her hand over her face while
hundreds of students stomped their feet to thunderous applause,
Wayne accepted the award.
is such an opportunity...I'm shaking," Wayne said at the microphone.
"I don't know what to say...Thank you."
is one of 100 teachers nationally recognized for the 2003 Milken
award, said Brenda S. Fox-Gray, director of special projects and
constituent services for the Arizona Department of Education.
said the awards are usually given out in December but due to scheduling
conflicts with tribal leaders, the presentation had to wait until
after the Christmas break.
said the National Educator Awards program is set up to reward, retain
and attract quality teachers through the Milken Family Foundation.
The private foundation was established in 1982.
said 1,800 nominations were sent to Arizona schools in 2003 and
the nominations were narrowed down to 180 applications. After pre-interviews,
the applications were cut down to five. A committee then sorted
through the applications to select the teachers.
awards were given in Arizona. The other recipient of the award was
Spanish teacher Sheryl Castro of Catalina Foothills High School
$25,000 check can be used however the recipients wish. Wayne said
she wasn't sure how she'd spend the money.
don't know what to do with the money. Gosh I'm still shaking...maybe
I'll go to Disney World," Wayne said, laughing. "But I really don't
Council Delegate Roy Laughter (Chilchinbito/Kayenta) knew Wayne
as a "jolly ol' kid."
finally getting recognized in northern Arizona. This just shows
that we take education seriously. I'd like to see it continue,"
Sylvia Laughter, I-Kayenta, who was also on hand at the presentation,
said she went to high school with Wayne.
I found out, I was so excited. She is such a sweet, sweet lady,"
Laughter said. "She has come so far...this sends a message to our
kids, that any child can get anywhere with hard work. She sets an
example for the Navajo Nation, because this is one of the highest
achievements any teacher can get."
graduated from Monument Valley High School in 1978. She then went
to Brigham Young University and got her bachelor's degree in education.
She then went to Northern Arizona University to get a master's degree
in multi-cultural and bilingual education.
then returned to the Navajo Nation to teach junior high school -
a message she got from former chairman Peter MacDonald who encouraged
children to come back to the reservation after their schooling was
13 years of teaching, she said her students are the reason she returns
each academic year.
can see how fun they are, this is where I have all the fun," Wayne
said in her classroom. She also believes teachers have to be parents
to their students.
don't have moms, or dads. They see us more. We need to be a parent
figure to them," Wayne said. "You do need to be stern with them
but at the same time you have to love them."
Larry Wallen said Vice Principal David Holly nominated Wayne because
of her leadership in the school and her strong ties with students.
He said during a staff meeting, the faculty was discussing classroom
instruction with the program "Homebase."
stood up and said it was about the students. This is what the program
is about, getting invested in our kids, not getting involved with
grades," Wallen said. "And I thought that was such a beautiful vision."
it has anything to do with students," Wayne said, "I'm the first
one to defend them, because they're my kids, they're my students,
they're my friends and my relatives."
developed the reading and writing curriculum for Kayenta Middle
School. Wallen said this was key especially since the Arizona Instrument
to Measure Standards went into effect.
said AIMS test scores for Kayenta students showed 40 percent were
meeting the standards, which does not make him happy.
want 100 percent because we don't want any of our Navajo kids left
behind," Wallen said.
said Navajo students typically have a hard time taking standardized
tests and this accounts for the unsatisfactory scores.
test is looking for differences, while Navajo students look for
similarities they can relate to," Wallen said. "Testing is based
on discrimination and not on holistic parts."
said his staff is under a lot of pressure to meet the standards
and teachers like Wayne will be the key to meeting those goals.
said she, too, worries about student success.
feels really good when I see them at our promotion ceremony knowing
that I've taught them to be ready," she said. "It scares me if they're