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Webinar Series: Circles of Reflection

March 9, 2022

Asking the Experts: A Webinar Series

Circles of Reflection: Collaborating to Improve Native Education

March 30, 2022, 12-1:00 pm (ET)

Join Westat and a panel of experts in education for Native students for the second installment of Westat’s Webinar Series, “Asking the Experts.” Panelists represent diverse communities and perspectives in Native education. The panel will discuss the framework of Circles of Reflection for facilitating meaningful conversations about equity, the opportunities that exist for Native education, and how states can advance teaching and learning for American Indian/Alaskan Native students in ways that put culturally responsive ideas into practice toward improving student outcomes.

Register: Circles of Reflection: Collaborating to Improve Native Education


Julian Guerrero, Jr., MPA, Director, Office of Indian Education (OIE), U.S. Department of Education, Office of Elementary and Secondary Education. Mr. Guerrero brings a wealth of knowledge on how to build and sustain meaningful partnerships with tribal communities. As OIE Director, he reports to and advises the Assistant Secretary on programs administered by the OIE, among them the Indian Education Program of ESEA. The program establishes policies and provides financial and technical assistance for supporting local education agencies (LEAs), Indian tribes and organizations, postsecondary institutions, and other entities in meeting the special educational and cultural-related academic needs of American Indians and Alaska Natives. Mr. Guerrero is an enrolled citizen of the Comanche Nation and affiliated with the Kiowa Nation.

Rich Pawpa, Indian Education Coordinator, Broken Arrow Public Schools, Oklahoma. Mr. Pawpa is a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation. He has worked in education over the past 15 years primarily focusing on educating disadvantaged youth. Prior to joining Broken Arrow Public Schools as the Indian Education Specialist, Mr. Pawpa was the Curriculum Coordinator for the Osage Nation. His background is rooted within at-risk youth/adult through the Department of Corrections and the Oklahoma Juvenile Association. He has served as a teacher, Special Education Coordinator, Curriculum Coordinator, and Assistant Director from 1998 to present for various state entities. 

Regina Riley, Higher Education Director, Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma. Ms. Riley provides a multifaceted approach to program development and implementation, especially focused on serving underrepresented communities, within a new Higher Education Department. She manages the K-12 Private School Education Fund, Higher Education Scholarship Program, Job Placement and Training Program, the youth college preparation program Talking Circle Group, and the Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma Public Library. Ms. Riley received a 2004 Governor’s Commendation for her work with Native American youth.

Jackie L. White, M.Ed., Executive Director, Office of American Indian Education (OAIE), Oklahoma State Department of Education. Ms. White oversees the work of OAIE, which provides guidance and leadership to local educational agencies seeking partnership with any of the 39 Sovereign Tribal Nations. Its mission is to sustain lifelong education benefits for Tribal citizens in the Oklahoma K-12 public education system. Ms. White’s more than 40-year career in education administration also included working with schools in the Muscogee (Creek) Nation and serving as the Senior Executive Director of Federal Programs for Union District Public Schools.


Amy Bitterman, Senior Study Director, Education Studies, Westat. Ms. Bitterman leads the National Comprehensive Center’s Native Education Collaborative, a signature project focused on building the capacity of state education agencies to better serve their Native students through enhanced collaboration with tribes and districts. She helped develop and implement the Collaborative’s Circles of Reflection, a framework for states to engage districts and tribes in discussions about support for educating Native students. Ms. Bitterman has over 20 years of experience providing technical assistance, capacity building, data collection and analytic support for education studies.

Amy Bitterman

Focus Areas

Education Learning Acceleration




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