It is not too late to enroll in spring quarter classes. The quarter starts April 3 and web enrollment is open until April 5.

Native Student Success Summit Coming May 11

Home/News/Native Student Success Summit Coming May 11
2023-03-21T12:04:00+00:00 March 15, 2023|News|
Print Page

Native Student Success Summit Coming May 11

  • Students and presentors at previous Summits


Dream Big – hikʷ ʔəsqəlqəlalitut (Lushootseed)

The Native Student Success Summit is designed to inspire and empower high school and college students to be successful in higher education and beyond. Registration is required. The summit will be offered both in an in-person format and online. If you sign up online, you will receive an email with zoom links before the event starts.

Individual Registration Group Registration

During the free summit, participants will:

  • Find encouragement and support with tools and resources for Native student success and leadership development.
  • Gain an increased awareness of ways to identify, articulate and work toward actionable goals for personal and communal success in culturally rooted ways.
  • Make meaningful connections and gain a deeper sense of community with other Native student leaders in Western Washington.

The summit for American Indian and Alaska Native students is the result of a partnership between Highline Public Schools and Highline College.

Participating as presenters and organizers are Native educators, professionals and community leaders from the school districts of Auburn, Federal Way, Fife, Highline, Kent, Puyallup School District; Gonzaga University, Green River College, Highline College, University of Washington and the Muckleshoot Tribe.

Sara Marie Ortiz

Sara Marie Ortiz

Sara Marie Ortiz and Dr. Tanya Powers are the founders and lead organizers of the summit, now in its seventh year.

Ortiz is a member of Pueblo of Acoma, a tribal community in New Mexico, and manages Highline Public Schools’ Native Education Program. Powers is of mixed heritage St. Lawrence Island Yupik/Siberian Yupik and Irish and is the Associate Dean of Workforce and Baccalaureate Education at Highline College.

“There’s nothing quite like the Native Student Success Summit. We’ve worked hard to create an opportunity that isn’t just about college or career access and success for Native students alone,” said Ortiz.

 Tanya Powers

Tanya Powers

“We see it as an expansive, immersive, challenging, intergenerational learning opportunity; a chance to connect with each other, ask tough questions, challenge norms, have critical conversations and feel truly supported at the summit and far beyond by a powerful network of Native scholars, professionals, artists, advocates and visionary Native change-makers. This has never been more urgently needed in these very complex times.”

“This is our seventh annual Native Student Success Summit and we are pleased to have this event where we can nurture culture, identity and community,” said Powers, who completed her dissertation — “Giving Back, a Retention Influence of Urban American Indian and Alaska Native Women Community College Students” — at Seattle University, completing her doctorate in educational leadership.

According to Powers, the two were inspired by other successful Highline College events for students of color, such as the Black and Brown Male Summit, the Y.E.L.L. Female Summit and the Latinx Summit. Approximately 100 students are expected to attend.


Mia Bull: mbull@highline.edu or (206) 592-4563

Tanya Powers: tpowers@highline.edu or (206) 592-3662
Sara Marie Ortiz: sara.ortiz@highlineschools.org or (206) 631-3162


8:30–8:50 a.m.: Registration
Location: Building 7

8:50–9:05 a.m.: Welcome
Location: Building 7

9:05—9:50 a.m.: Morning Keynote Vice Chairman Donny Stevenson
Location: Building 7

9:50—10:00 a.m.: Break

10:00—11:00 a.m.: Breakout Sessions

Session A: Morning Breakout Session 1: We Are Here: Pathways for Us
Exploring our pathways and how to get there, self navigation and storytelling
Location: TBA

Session B: Morning Breakout Session 2: Language
These are the Words of Our People: sx̌udx̌ud ʔə tiiɫ ʔiišədčəɫ.
Facilitators: Jill LaPointe and Archie Cantrell
Location: TBA

Session C: Morning Breakout Session 3: What is Your Medicine? Healthy Minds, Bodies and Spirits
Location: TBA

11:00—11:35 a.m.: Lunch/Student Networking & Evaluations (for high school students who need to leave early)
Location: Building 2

11:35—11:50 a.m.: Physical Movement/Community Builder — health & wellness
Location: Mt. Constance

11:50—12:50 p.m.: Breakout Sessions

Session A: Afternoon Breakout Session 1:
We Are Here: Pathways for Us
Exploring our pathways and how to get there, self navigation and storytelling
Location: TBA

Session B: Afternoon Breakout Session 2: Language
These are the Words of Our People: sx̌udx̌ud ʔə tiiɫ ʔiišədčəɫ.
Location: TBA

Session C: Afternoon Breakout Session 3:
What Is Your Medicine? Healthy Minds, Bodies and Spirits
Location: TBA

12:55—1:15 p.m.: Validation, Evaluations & Closing (for high school students who need to leave)
Location: Mt. Constance

2:00—3:00 p.m.: Afternoon Workshop — Adult Learners
Location: TBA
Facilitator: Leander Yazzie

Co-Founder Bios

Sara Marie Ortiz is a Seattle-based educator, Native arts, lit, and culture specialist and writer of creative nonfiction, poetry, and mixed-genre work. She is an enrolled citizen of the Pueblo of Acoma, a graduate of the Institute of American Indian Arts (BFA in creative writing) and Antioch University Los Angeles (MFA in creative writing). She has studied formally writing, law, Native studies, theater, and film. She has published widely, has been featured in such publications as the Kenyon Review, the Florida Review, Ploughshares, and she has presented widely from her beloved birthplace in New Mexico, throughout the Pacific Northwest, and all the way to Johannesburg, South Africa. Sara Marie is also a passionate Native educator and advocate in the realm of Native arts, culture, literature, tribal languages, education, and community. She currently serves as the Native Education Program Manager for Highline Public Schools in Burien, Washington, loves watching movies and listening to all kinds of music (especially chilled electronic, old timey bluegrass, and hip hop), and has a fluffy orange cat named Mr. Pickles.

Tanya Powers (St. Lawrence Island Yupik/Alaska Native) works on creating accessible pathways and serving students in our communities. After spending nineteen years working in the community college system, Tanya has a solid understanding of instruction, baccalaureate and workforce education, addressing barriers to education, community engagement and working with traditionally under-served students. When not at work, she enjoys spending time with family, playing roller derby and reading.

Speaker Biographies

John Reamer

John Reamer is an enrolled Makah Tribal member, while also being Ihanktonwon (where his grandmother is enrolled), he graduated from The University of Washington – Seattle, with a major in American Indian Studies. John grew up on the reservation in Neah Bay, Washington, it was during his time growing up that he knew one day he would like to live in the seattle area in order to learn more about American Indian education, urban indian culture, while also connecting with and learning from all walks of life that find their way to the big city. John has goals to return to college in pursuit of a master’s degree in the near future, but wanted to spend some time working within the school system in order to fully understand the work that is needed to be done in order to secure a better future for our coming generations. In John’s free time he loves listening to music (edm especially), going to the gym, spending time with his friends and family, watching sports, reading, and playing video games.

SPECIAL THANKS to our community, our youth and our ancestors. Thanks are also in order for the contributions of Native Educators from South King County, Seattle Indian Health Board, Highline College, UW School of Public Health, UW Gear Up Program, Muckleshoot and Puyallup Tribes, and the Highline College Foundation.

Thank you to our Planning Committee:
Mia Bull, Sara Marie Ortiz, Amanda Rambayon, Archie Cantrell, John Reamer, Rosa Garcia Rodriguez, Martha Sherman, Rich Summer, Garaline Tom, Jeremy Rouse, Jillian McBride-Payne, Victoria Gardner, Quadelle Satterwhite, Garaline Tom, Leander Yazzie, Robin Pratt, Sharleen Shown, Isabella Kriessler, Lokee Beaver