Tarajean Yazzie-Mintz

Board of Director

Tarajean Yazzie-Mintz (Diné) is Founder of First Light Education Project, a consulting collaborative built on Indigenous principles with a mission to strengthen historically undeserved educational communities across the United States. Starting as a Toddler 2 teacher, Tarajean has built her career as a teacher, researcher, and nonprofit leader, guiding numerous tribal and national projects that have contributed to strengthening systems of care and learning within tribal and immigrant educational communities, centering change efforts within families, local communities, and early childhood systems. With expertise in early childhood education, Native education, teaching and learning, and community-centered research, Tarajean also serves as Project Director of the Indigenous Early Learning Collaborative, a national initiative implemented in partnership with the Brazelton Touchpoints Center of Boston, MA.

Tarajean’s research has been featured at national conferences and published in journals focused on PreK-12 education. Her expertise is sought out by foundations, national associations, and committees such as the Spencer Foundation, the National Indian Education Association’s Native Educator Education and Development (NEED) subcommittee, and the Early Learning Systems Committee of the National Governing Board and the Developmentally Appropriate Practice/Diversity and Equity Workgroup of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).

Tarajean earned a doctorate in education (Ed.D.) from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education, which honored her with the 2016 Alumni Council Award for Outstanding Contributions to Education. In 2020, Tarajean was named the 2020 Brock Prize in Education Laureate, in recognition of her contributions to the field of education. Deepening her commitments to supporting educational communities and expanding her practice in education, Tarajean and her work with First Light Education Project is headquartered in Denver, Colorado.

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