Petra Wilson, center left, is seen with her late husband, Rex Vance Wilson, and their family of nine. Photo from GoFundMe
Wilson wins National Indian Education Award
Plans to continue efforts to involve parents in grant programs
By James Giago Davies
Native Sun News Today Correspondent
nativesunnews.today RAPID CITY –– Sitting in her father’s law office in downtown Rapid City, Petra Wilson doesn’t look like a warrior, but that is how Della Frank, who nominated her for the National Indian Education Parent of the Year award described her, a “warrior woman, who has fought the good fight to improve the lives of American Indian children and their families in the Las Vegas community and throughout the Clark County School District (CCSD). She has been the backbone to the Clark County Indian Education Parent Committee (CCIEC).” Wilson won the award. The daughter of noted Oglala Lakota attorney Mario Gonzalez, Wilson graduated from Bennett County High School in Martin and raised her family of nine in Henderson, Nevada, Wilson ran into a brick wall when she attempted to have a parental say in the distribution of education funds in the CCSD. “Her wisdom and knowledge of the Title VII and Johnson O’Malley (JOM) grants as well as Indian policy has strengthened and united a fragmented parent committee,” Frank continued in her nomination essay. Frank listed the following as some of Wilson’s accomplishments:
• Wilson’s leadership moved CCIEC from an ignored program to a stand-alone department.Wilson’s initial attempt to involve parents in Indian education programs ran afoul of bureaucratic stumbling blocks.
• Wilson’s leadership obligated CCSD to include Indian Preference on Indian Education Opportunities Program job postings.
• Wilson’s leadership resulted in CCSD providing the Title VII and JOM grant budgets be available for review by the Clark County Indian Parent Committee.
• Wilson’s leadership opened up training and conferences to CCIEC parents.
• Wilson’s leadership improved communication with NIEA, Title VII, JOM and BIA officials.
• Wilson’s leadership encouraged CCSD to provide not only cultural events, but events that include the arts for a more well-rounded education for students and parents.
• Wilson’s leadership brought programs such as Youth Spending Frenzy and American Indian guest speakers to CCSD.
• Wilson’s leadership elevated the recognition of the Clark County Indian Education Parent Committee by Clark County School District Board of Trustees, Superintendent, CCSD administrators, and key stakeholders.
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