California State Board )education)

Nicolasa “Niki” Sandoval, Ph.D., education director for the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians, has been appointed to the California Board of Education.

Dr. Sandoval has led the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians Education Department, a certified American Indian Education Center, since 2009.

“As a graduate of the public school system and a first-generation college graduate, I am committed to improving educational opportunities and outcomes for all California students,” Dr. Sandoval said. “I look forward to applying my academic foundations and professional experiences to the work of the State Board of Education.”

The 11-member State Board of Education is the policy body responsible for approving curriculum frameworks, textbooks, statewide assessments and standards for student performance. Dr. Sandoval was appointed to a three-year term, filling a position vacated by James Ramos, chairman of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians.

“Niki’s passion and dedication to education is evident in the excellent work she does as director of the tribe’s education department,” said Vincent Armenta, chairman of the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians. “She really cares about our children and making sure they are given the educational opportunities needed to ensure a brighter future.”

The appointment follows Armenta’s and fellow tribal leaders’ tireless efforts to seek Dr. Sandoval’s well-deserved recognition.

In addition to her work as director of the tribe’s education department, she is also a lecturer and has been a project evaluator at UC Santa Barbara. Dr. Sandoval previously held various positions at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian and Museum of Natural History. She earned her doctor of education degree from UCSB and a master of arts degree in museum studies from George Washington University.

Dr. Sandoval’s appointment is one of three that Gov. Jerry Brown announced earlier this week. The state Senate is expected to confirm Dr. Sandoval’s appointment within one year.

The Santa Ynez Reservation is located in Santa Barbara County and was established and officially recognized by the federal government on Dec. 27, 1901. The tribe is a self-governing tribal sovereign nation that follows the laws set forth in the tribe’s constitution, which is similar in text to the U.S. Constitution and the California Constitution.

Click here for more information on the tribe and its education department.

The tribe owns and operates the Chumash Casino Resort, Hotel Corque and Root 246 in the nearby town of Solvang and two gas stations in Santa Ynez.

— Hildy Medina represents the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians.