Staff Members

Naomi Miguel, MPAP (Tohono O’odham)

Executive Director

Naomi Miguel, Ba’ag Nei’dam O’ks (Eagle Singing Woman), is a citizen of the Tohono O’odham Nation. Ms. Miguel is the Executive Director for the White House Initiative on Advancing Education Equity, Excellence, and Economic Opportunity for Native Americans and Strengthening Tribal Colleges and Universities.

Ms. Miguel formerly served as the Staff Director for the Subcommittee for Indigenous Peoples of the United States on the House of Representatives Natural Resources Committee. She served as a founding board member for the Congressional Native Staff Association and is a former Native American Congressional Intern for the Udall Foundation. Previously, Ms. Miguel worked for six years in the nonprofit sector at the Tribal Law and Policy Institute. She served four years as a Board Member and Board Secretary for Pukúu, a non-profit organization in Los Angeles.

Ms. Miguel received her Bachelor of the Arts in Political Science with minors in pre-law and art from Mount St. Mary’s University, an all-women’s college in Los Angeles, CA. She received her Master’s in Public Administration and Policy from American University in Washington, D.C.

Ron Lessard (Mohawk)
Program Specialist

Ron is currently serving as the Department of Education’s full time federal detailee to the Alyce Spotted Bear and Walter Soboleff Commission on Native Children (“Commission”). Prior to serving on the “Commission” he was Chief of Staff for 3 years and Acting Executive Director for 5  and ½ years for The White House Initiative on Advancing Education Equity, Excellence, and Economic Opportunity for Native Americans and Strengthening Tribal Colleges and Universities.  He served as the Department of Education’s Tribal Consultation Official for 8 years.

Ron is a traditional Sun Dancer (Eagle Dancer) and has danced on the Rose Bud Indian Reservation for 25 years. He is an U.S. Air Force, Viet Nam veteran where he held a Top-Secret Crypto security clearance.   Ron previously served as the Strategic Advisor for Native American Affairs for the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS). He was the agency’s primary liaison to American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian Tribal communities and the organizations and federal agencies that serve them. He was the Director of Cultural Competency for the National Minority Aids Education and Training Center at Howard University College of Medicine where he was responsible for the development Cultural Competency education, training, and capacity building tools for the purpose of educating and training, minority and minority serving clinicians serving American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian communities. He also served as the Executive Director of the Baltimore American Indian Center (BAIC) and served on the Baltimore City Crime Victim’s Advisory Board and the Governor’s Commission Subcommittees on Native American issues.

Policy Assistants/Interns


Emma Hartley, University of California Santa Barbara
Marisa Joseph, Tulalip Tribes of Washington, Dartmouth College

Brianna Carrier Syracuse University (MPA)
Alexandra Graham Boston College
Alexandria Barnes Quinnipiac University
Brianna Munoz Claremont McKenna College 
Casey Boyette University of Virginia
Sheninkwa Cly Northland Pioneer College
Naomi Edenshaw University of Alaska – Southeast
Chasity Salvador Stanford University
Nicholas Courtney Western Washington University

Devin Della Maggiora Santa Clara University
Emily Pagano The George Washington University
Sahiti Enjeti The George Washington University
Luke Terranova American University
David Clark University of Alaska- Anchorage
Carl Duncan University of Arizona, Arizona State University
Jacquelyn Franscisco Bringham Young University 
Jasmine Tall The George Washington University
Jennifer Sherman The George Washington University
Abigail Petuchowski Claremont McKenna College
Maya Kale Claremont McKenna College
Nikhil Kanade Claremont McKenna College
RJ Couture St. Norbert College
Sophie Newman Rice University
Kara Roanhorse Brown University
Meredith McCoy University of North Carolina- Chapel Hill (PhD)
Levi Bachmeier Concordia College, Teach for America: Pine Ridge

Alex Murphy Rice University
Aundrea Baker College of William and Mary, American University (MPP)
Nikki Tulley University of New Mexico- Albuquerque
Cassandra Chang Hawaii Pacific, University of Hawaii- Manoa (JD)
Dinee Dorame Yale University
Tanner Allread Yale University
Sloan Caldwell Claremont McKenna College
Sam Perella Claremont McKenna College
Tyler Hallmark University of Colorado- Boulder, University of Pennsylvania (M.S)
Brian Barlow George Washington University
Sarah Tedesco American University
Randy Lays Bad
Devaney Buffalo