Northwest Indian College Early Childhood Education Initiatives are for
and by the Lummi community’s children and families


Nahrin Aziz, M.Ed.

Lead Early Childhood Education Faculty and Principal Investigator
Nahrin Aziz
Nahrin is the Early Childhood Education Program Lead at Northwest Indian College. She began her teaching career as a Teach for America corps member in New Orleans, LA and has taught for NWIC since 2009. Nahrin's educational philosophy is grounded in providing students with high levels of support coupled with high expectations, in an effort to help them achieve their educational and professional goals.

Joy Kramer, M.Ed.

Adjunct Early Childhood Education Faculty
Joy Kramer
Joy is an Adjunct Early Childhood Education Faculty member at Northwest Indian College. She received her undergraduate degree from Central Washington University in Teaching. She started her teaching career as a multicultural Educator in the Yakima area. She earned her Master's Degree from Heritage University in Reading/Literacy Education. Then she moved to Bellingham and served as the Lummi Nation Head Start Coordinator for five years. She enjoys working with students at their current skill level while ensuring
they are receiving the tools they need to progress and reach their full potential.

Cynthia Wilson, M.Ed.

Curriculum Developer
Cynthia Wilson
Cynthia carries the Indian name of Oomagelees from her maternal side of the family. Her father is Culaxten, James H. Wilson, from Lummi and her mother is Roberta Hunt Wilson, from the most northern Island of Vancouver. Cynthia is a Lummi Tribal member and currently works for the Lummi Nation Schelangen Division. She has worked in the education field for 30 years and enjoys working with children from the smallest to the oldest. During many of these years, Cynthia worked at Lummi Nation School. She feels fortunate to have learned Lummi Language from her mentors and is proud to be able to share it with children and families in her community. Cynthia loves to share stories that have great lessons to live by and to see the expressions on the faces of the children when they are listening and learning. Cynthia received a Master of Education in Curriculum Instruction / Technology from Grand Canyon University and completed Northwest Indian College’s Award of Completion – Initial Early Childhood Education Certificate. Cynthia is committed to continuing her journey in education. Her teaching philosophy is to help children by strengthening their educational experiences and increasing their understanding of who they are.

Former Staff Members

Shelley Macy, M.A.

Early Childhood Education Faculty and Project Co-Director
Shelley Macy
As ECE and Parent Education faculty, Shelley built, shepherded, and taught in the early childhood degree program at NWIC since 1989. Now teaching some of the adult children of ECE students from the early 90’s, she is enthusiastic about the Sacred Little Ones project. “It is giving us the chance to address the holistic nature of early education for everyone involved—the children, their families, their teachers and administrators, and the ECE students at the college who are or will become the lead teachers in early education programs. I love the way that Sacred Little Ones is connecting all our partners professionally and personally, and supporting the connection of families, children, and teachers to one another and to Lummi culture and language. We are increasingly working together for positive change in birth-through-grade 3 education.” A teacher educator and parenting support instructor, Macy’s work addresses the full spectrum of early childhood education within tribal early learning programs. Her primary research focus has been on supporting the social emotional needs of Native children and their teachers/caregivers and parents.

Shasta Pettijohn, M.Ed.

Adjunct Early Childhood Education Faculty
Shasta Pettijohn
Shasta has worked in adult education for a variety of settings, including working parents and families of young children and supporting K-12 students with developmental disabilities and mental health diagnoses. Shasta believes that helping people learn to help themselves is rewarding work. In her free time, she enjoys sailing, fishing, camping, playing guitar, and traveling.

Zachariah Bunton

Mathematics Curriculum Developer
Zachariah Bunton
As a Tribal member of the Lummi Nation, Zach has lived on or around the Reservation his entire life. He graduated from Lummi Nation School and has taken college courses at Northwest Indian College, where he has been involved with the mathematics department for the past decade; his first five years were spent as a tutor and in the past five years, his involvement expanded to other areas such as teaching, mentoring, and coaching. Zach has had opportunities to attend workshops facilitated by the Mathematics Education Collaborative (MEC), studying how to teach mathematics in a more humane way. Using what he has learned from MEC, his goal is to co-create a safe environment in which students actually learn math. He is part of the NWIC team that has adopted this pedagogy and has taught courses, including Elementary and Intermediate Algebra as well as Pre-Calculus, using these teaching methods. The coursework consists of inquiry-based mathematics using geometric relationships that center on an individual’s own identity. The coursework also focuses on building skills beyond standard mathematical skills, such as critical thinking, reasoning, confidence, teamwork, responsibility, and communication. Zach is committed to the belief that everyone is capable of learning and doing mathematics.

Thayne Yazzie

STEM Education Outreach Coordinator
Thayne Yazzie
Thayne is the STEM Education Outreach Coordinator at Northwest Indian College. He is a Navajo Tribal member and has worked with both Lummi and Navajo Tribal students. In 2015, Thayne received his bachelor’s degree in Multimedia Production and Design at Western Washington University (WWU). During this time, Thayne worked as a technology assistant at the WWU library and volunteered at the university’s Child Development Center. He has also served as a teacher assistant for the elementary summer school program at Lummi Nation School. After graduating from WWU, Thayne became a teacher at St. Michaels Indian School on the Navajo Reservation where he taught 11th grade Project Management, 9th grade Digital Media, 7th and 8th grade History, middle school Music, and 12th grade Theology. He also administered the school’s online learning management system and provided computer and technology assistance for both students and staff. After teaching at St. Michaels, Thayne obtained his Master’s degree in Instructional Design and Technology from Full Sail University and moved to Albuquerque, NM to pursue helicopter flight training. During this time, Thayne created and designed instructional media for his flight school at Vertical Limit Aviation.

Miguel Ramos, M.L.I.S.

Information Technology Faculty
Miguel Ramos
Miguel is a Wyandotte Tribal member of Mexican/Chinese ancestry with seventeen years of experience as a Librarian, and eleven years of experience working in health care IT as a Usability Designer and Application Development Analyst. He taught the Information Technology classes at NWIC from September 2018-March 2020, helping to redesign the CMPS program to align with CompTIA Certificates and the Workforce Education program.

Miguel worked to keep the Sacred Little Ones website up to date and to improve the usability of the site.

He is a graduate of The Evergreen State College and the University of Washington. He also plays trumpet and guitar in several bands around town, and enjoys riding his mid-70s motorcycle when the sun is shining.