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NIEA Starts Leadership Transition

For Immediate Release
News Alert
May 29, 2012

Contact NIEA Communications
T: 202.544.7290
Social: @Nieadotorg (Twitter)/NieaFanPage (Facebook)


NIEA Starts leadership transition

Washington, DC – National Indian Education Association’s Board of Directors announces today that it has begun a leadership transition in order to take the next steps in its evolution as the nation’s leading advocate for American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian students.

Colin Kippen, a Native Hawaiian who is NIEA’s current executive director, will leave the association on May 31 after nearly two years at the helm. This transition has been in the works for the past month. A lawyer and longtime advocate, Kippen is leaving to further his advocacy on national policy issues.

During his nearly two years as Executive Director, Kippen has stepped up NIEA’s advocacy for advancing excellent, culturally-based education for Native students. This includes successfully advocating President Barack Obama to sign Executive Order 13592, a watershed event which marks the administration’s commitment to reforming Native education and makes this goal a priority across all federal agencies. During Kippen’s tenure, NIEA also helped craft and is supporting the passage of the Native CLASS Act, which would amend the No Child Left Behind Act/Elementary and Secondary Education Act to give Native communities a stronger voice in shaping education for their children; and has worked with the U.S. Department of Education to organize a series of consultations with American Indian Tribal leaders around improving the education of Native children.

Says Kippen: “I look forward to the future with hope and optimism.  I believe we have accomplished much in the time I have been with the NIEA, and have confidence that the NIEA board will carry this organization to even higher heights as it works to better the education and the lives of American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians. I am and will always be a lifelong advocate for our native children, their families, and their communities.”

“We have accomplished much together and are thankful for Colin’s advocacy on behalf of our native children, their families, and their communities”, says NIEA President Quinton Roman Nose. “Our board wishes Colin well and look forward to our collective futures with hope, optimism, and a renewed sense of commitment to improve the education of the native people we are called upon to serve.”

Kippen will be succeeded on an interim basis by Gerald E. Gipp, a longtime education advocate and member of the Standing Rock Sioux. The former executive director of the American Indian Higher Education Consortium, Dr. Gipp has a lifelong record of advancing education for Native students.

To build upon NIEA’s recent successes and sustain its mission, the Board of Directors will launch a national search for the next Executive Director.  

Reporters can contact NIEA Communications at or at (202) 544-7290 for more information on the association’s transition.


WHO: NIEA’s leadership and staff

WHAT: NIEA begins its leadership transition.

WHY: The leading advocate for all Native children is looking to build upon its recent successes.

MEDIA CONTACT: NIEA Communications ( or 202.544.7290)


About National Indian Education Association: The premiere organization advocating for educational excellence, opportunity, and equity for American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian students, the mission of the National Indian Education Association (NIEA) is to support traditional Native cultures and values; to enable Native learners to become contributing members of their communities; to promote Native control of educational institutions; and to improve educational opportunities and resources for American Indians, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians throughout the United States. Learn more at