Tony Dearman, a member of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, will head the Bureau of Indian Education.
The agency, which operates under the umbrella of the U.S. Department of the Interior, serves about 45,000 of the nation’s roughly 950,000 Native American students.
Since last fall, Dearman has served as the Bureau of Indian Education’s associate deputy director for bureau-operated schools. Before that, he worked as superintendent at Riverside Indian School, a Bureau of Indian Education-operated boarding school in Oklahoma.
In his new role, Dearman will oversee more than 180 schools on or near American Indian reservations. He inherits the reins of an agency that has been plagued by financial mismanagement and rampant staff turnover for decades. U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell announced the hire this week.
The BIE’s last director, Charles “Monty” Roessel, was stripped of his duties and demoted in March after federal investigators determined he used his influence to get jobs for a relative and a woman with whom he was romantically involved.
Roessel had led the bureau since December 2013 after serving as interim director for two years.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Learning the Language blog.