Ya'at'eeh! My name is Loretta Damon, I am Diné (from the Navajo Nation), I am born to the 'Áshįįhi nili (Salt clan); and Tódích’íi’nii baa sha ish chiin (Bitterwater clan); Tó’áhani (Near to water clan) da she chei; (grandfather’s clan) and Hashtł’ishnii (Mud clan) da shi nali (grandmother’s clan). My parents are Anson Chandler and Molly Damon and I am very proud to say that my father was a Navajo Code Talker. I am from Sawmill, AZ, a small community north of Ft. Defiance, AZ. I am a graduate of Window Rock High School and the middle child in a family of seven. I am also a first generation college graduate.
I am a single, proud parent of two boys, Casey and Nick. My passion is working with students by providing guidance and support as they matriculate though college. I enjoy beading, reading, watching movies, traveling, learning and singing Native American songs. I am also a sports fan; I love college sports and the NFL and NBA. Go Broncos! I also love to listen to oldies and Motown.
My educational background includes a Bachelor of Arts in Education and Masters of Arts in Education, both from Arizona State University. I have additional coursework in the counseling field from Arizona State University, as well. In 2011, I was honored as the “Outstanding American Indian Woman of the Year” at the Native American Recognition Days sponsored by the Phoenix Indian Center. They recognized me for “dedication and service to the Phoenix –Metro Native American Community”. I also received the 2011 ASU Alumnus of the Year award from Arizona State University in recognition of outstanding leadership, community service and achievements in my profession.
I have been actively involved in the education field for thirty five years. I have taught at the elementary and secondary levels; been employed with community colleges and set up innovative programs for students at all levels (tutoring, mentoring, life coping skills, study groups, high school bridge programs, adult basic education and GED programs). In the past, I have coordinated Miss Indian Pageants, powwows, career fairs, film festivals, speakers forums, Native American Heritage months, orientation, graduation convocation, banquets and other fundraising events (silent auction, American Indian markets and fry bread sales) for scholarship purposes.
I am honored and proud to say that I have worked with the Maricopa Community College District for twenty- nine years. I started my college career at a community college and I am a firm believer in community education. I worked at Scottsdale Community College for several years and later transferred to Glendale Community College to set up a program for American Indian students. I enjoy working at MCC because of the diversity of students, faculty and staff. I am proud to say we have the highest American Indian population within Maricopa Community College District, reaching as high as l200 Indian students at one point, a majority of which successfully transfer to a university and graduate with Bachelors and Masters Degrees
In my past experiences as coordinator, manager and instructor within the Maricopa Community Colleges, Central Arizona College and Tempe Unified School District, I had the opportunity to take Indian students on education trips to Ivy League universities and to national education and UNITY Conferences outside of Maricopa County. After 29 years I am still amazed to see how many students in our society have not had the opportunity to fly in a plane let alone leave a reservation or the State of Arizona. As an educator, I feel responsible for helping students have positive experiences while empowering and giving them the opportunity to grow and learn, because they eventually will be our leaders tomorrow. I applaud all those students that have gone on and graduated and I am proud to have been a part of their experience!! Ho’ zhoo’ nan ado!