LOWER BRULE RESEARCH

COMMUNITY CENTERED SCIENCE

LBR Staff

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Melinda Lacota - K-6 Program Director

Melinda previously worked as an EMT in the Lower Brule community, and still possesses a national certification as an EMT. Melinda is also currently a paraprofessional at the Lower Brule Head Start, where she teaches literacy. Melinda is an enrolled member of the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe.

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Billy Joe Sazue - 7-12 Program Director

Billy Joe knew he wanted to work with Native youth ever since he was in high school at Crow Creek Tribal Schools. In college he majored in history and secondary education, achieving over 100 college credits. Billy Joe has taught Native American history, world history, and geography at Crow Creek Tribal Schools and served as the Youth Coordinator for Hunkpati Investments. He now works as the Elementary ISS Supervisor for Lower Brule Schools. Billy Joe is an enrolled member of the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe.

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Devon Riter - Executive Director

Devon grew up in rural South Dakota where he followed in the footsteps of his father and grandmother into the teaching profession. Devon is currently a high school science educator at Lower Brule Schools and a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Culture of Health Leader. Devon has a passion for collaborating with others to develop and spread great ideas in education.


LBR Board of Directors

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Rianna Albers - Board President

Rianna grew up in Pine Ridge, South Dakota on the Pine Ridge Reservation and is a member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe. She received a B.S. in Biological Sciences from South Dakota State University. After receiving her undergraduate degree, she did a research fellowship with the National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Strokes at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. Rianna currently lives in Lower Brule and teaches science and math at Lower Brule High School

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Logan Moeller - Vice President

Logan grew up outside of Sioux Falls, South Dakota. He received his B.A. in English and Telecommunications from Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. After graduating from college, he moved to Cincinnati, Ohio and worked in videography and web design. Currently he teaches Language Arts to 7-12 graders in Lower Brule, South Dakota and has completed his Master's in Teaching from Black Hills State University.

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Natalie Anderson

Natalie, an enrolled member of the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe, serves as president of the Lower Brule Community College. Natalie has her doctorate in education from Northcentral University specializing in higher education leadership. In addition, she is a graduate of National American University with a master's in business administration. Natalie has many passions in life, but foremost is education. In her eyes, education does far more than provide credentials; it proves a person’s determination to seek a better life.

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Keely Bracelin

Keely is from Okoboji, Iowa. She attended Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa where she received her B.A. in history education with coaching, sociology, and government endorsements. She has coached middle and high school softball, volleyball, and basketball over the last four years and is currently teaching history and government at Lower Brule High School.

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McKayla Estes

McKayla is a member of the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe and grew up in Lower Brule. McKayla is very active in Lakota culture and started her college career right after high school. She currently has an Associates in Arts and Sciences and has the long term goal of building a program/establishment for troubled youth in her community, where they can get the help they need while living in a stable environment.

Whitney Nordvold

Whitney is a member of the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe and grew up in Fort Pierre, SD. In 2011, Whitney earned her Bachelor of Science in American Indian Studies and Sociology from Black Hills State University. Over the last ten years she has worked in several sectors of the community development field, including economic development, early childhood education, community health, and federal law enforcement, specializing in Native American communities and populations.

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Marc Pierce

Marc is originally from Illinois, and now lives in Manhattan, Montana. Marc launched Warm Springs Productions in Missoula, MT in 2008, and have now produced over 20 different television series for 10 cable networks. The Warm Springs Productions staff numbers over 150, located in offices in Missoula and Manhattan, MT and Denver, CO.

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Zeke Prado

Zeke Prado was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. He graduated from Dakota Wesleyan University with a degree in Sport and Exercise Science and earned a Masters is K-12 Secondary Education from Grand Canyon University. Zeke is currently a physical education teacher at Lower Brule High School and has been influential in bringing athletic and health opportunities to the community, including football and health camps.

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Lydia Sazue

Lydia is currently the case manager at Lower Brule Human Services Department. She also has an Associates in Arts and Sciences, along with an Associates in Arts in Elementary and Early Childhood Education from Sinte Gleska University. Lydia also sits on the Lower Brule Community College Board of Trustees and enjoys coaching her daughter’s youth traveling basketball team. Lydia is a member of the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe and grew up in Lower Brule.