The Indian School of Santa Fe announced on Tuesday that the former college assistant principal and Lady Braves varsity basketball coach Christie Abeyta will take the lead as the school’s new principal.
Abeyta, who will step into the role on a two-year contract on Thursday, said she knew that with the end of the coronavirus pandemic she was facing a few difficult years.
She envisions a future of digital learning and more hands-on professional training for the school’s students at a time she describes as a “new era in history”.
“It will be really technology-based, with a heavy reliance on math and science,” Abeyta said in an interview on Tuesday. “One of the things the pandemic has brought to light is the need for greater capacity in the areas of technology and educational programs to support and build infrastructure.”
She said she hopes to extend the school’s community approach to environmental and agricultural sciences and apply it to areas such as healthcare and technology.
In the coming year, Abeyta said she will work on developing a comprehensive new plan for the Santa Fe Indian School, which serves around 700 students in grades 7 to 12.
Outgoing Superintendent Roy Herrera de Pecos has announced his retirement in January after eight years of service. He was the first non-Native American superintendent to run the school since the federal government handed it over to what is now the All Pueblo Council of Governors in the early 1970s.
Abeyta is the first woman and the fourth superintendent to run the school in its 44 years of pueblo operation.
She is from the pueblos of Santa Clara, Santo Domingo, Ohkay Owingeh and Isleta.
Abeyta is also a 1992 class SFIS alumnus and the daughter of Francis A. Abeyta, a well-known former basketball, football and baseball coach in school. He died of an aneurysm in 1996. His mother was a counselor at Northern New Mexico Community College.
Other members of Abeyta’s family were instrumental in efforts to gain tribal control of the Albuquerque Indian School, which would later merge with the Santa Fe Indian School later in the years. 1970. She is the niece of Joseph Abeyta, the first principal of the Indian school in Santa Fe, the school said in a press release.
Christie Abeyta holds an MA in Languages, Literacy, and Sociocultural Studies with an emphasis on Indian Education from the University of New Mexico.
She obtained her administrative license this year. She had resigned from her coaching position in 2018 to focus on furthering her education, but continued to work as a teacher during this time.
Herrera said in a statement: “As a member of the college team, Ms. Abeyta persevered in COVID-19 distance learning and came out with lessons that will guide SFIS towards an internet-enabled educational paradigm, and what it means for Indian education. “
Santa Fe Indian School Board Chairman Raymond Aguilar from Santo Domingo Pueblo said the board was proud to have an alum with “fresh” leadership training to take the lead .