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Ruff Accepts Office Of Indian Education Position


Dr. Sarah Ruff is leaving her position as the Wolf Point school district’s curriculum director for what she calls a dream position in the educational field.

“I wasn’t looking for a job,” Ruff noted. “I was recruited for the job.”

She will serve as the senior curriculum coordinator for technical assistance and learning with Synergy Enterprises in conjunction with the Office of Indian Education.

Her duties will include coaching and developing teachers, education leaders and Local Education Agencies throughout the United States including Alaska and Hawaii.

“The work is remote so I’m planning to stay here,” Ruff said of Wolf Point. “I like the community and working with the students in this community in particular.”

Staying in Wolf Point also allows her to be relatively close to several reservations that she will work with to achieve educational success.

“It was nice to be recruited and be valued for the scope of work that I built up,” Ruff said. “Every tribe has a different need. It will be interesting work.”

She notes she will miss coming to school and seeing students every day, but she’s excited about coaching educators. “That’s what I love to do,” she said.

She explained that when she was in her doctorate program, her goal was to work for the Board Of Indian Education.

Ruff feels that other under-served populations have a significant amount of advocacy. Native Americans and Alaska Natives have more of an uphill battle because they aren’t as visible or mainstream.

“I feel western education isn’t serving them as well as it should,” Ruff said.

She noted that if she can advocate for their education improvements, she feels she would be giving back to society.

“I’m pushing myself to grow and learn about other cultures and celebrate other ways of living and serving,” Ruff said. “I’ve always done that since I was little.”

Prior to coming to Wolf Point, Ruff was the only white person in a 100 percent African American school in Washington, D.C.. She also helped start a school in a low income area.

“I put myself in places where I can serve but not change communities,” Ruff said. “I want to uplift a community, not change it.”

She feels her time as Wolf Point’s curricular director has been successful. Achievements have included introducing a writing program where students tell their own stories and introducing personalized learning.

“I’m hoping those two things continue long after I’m gone,” Ruff said.

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