Advancement Staff Profiles

Tashina Rama - Vice President of Advancement 

Tashina Rama (Lakota/Ojibwa) came to Red Cloud from New Mexico where she was the Director of Financial Aid for the New Mexico Higher Education Department working under New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson’s administration for three years. Prior to that gubernatorial appointment, she worked in education for several years beginning at the Native American Preparatory School in Rowe, NM, St. John’s College in Santa Fe and the University of New Mexico’s Institute for Public Policy. 

At Red Cloud since 2009, Tashina started off as the Director of Student Advancement and Alumni Support before accepting an appointment as the Vice President of Advancement. Tashina holds a Bachelor’s of Business Administration with a minor in Native American Studies from the University of New Mexico. Tashina is married with five children, three dogs and four horses!

Jane Farrell - Director of Donor Relations, Director of Planned Giving & General Counsel 

Jane Farrell has served as Red Cloud's general counsel for several years, a service she has provided while also leading direct mail operations in the advancement office. Helping Red Cloud was a practice begun by her father, the late attorney Martin Farrell. Since 1950, the elder Farrell handled all the school system's legal work pro bono through his firm in Hot Springs, South Dakota, 60 miles to the north. When Jane joined her father's practice in 1981 she, like her father, gave freely of her services. Jane joined the staff of Red Cloud full-time in 2000.

Linda Shafer - Grants and Institutional Giving Officer

As the newest member of the advancement team, Linda Shafer has worked in the nonprofit sector for the past 18 years. Her experience includes working at Santa Fe’s Indian Market to support and promote economic opportunities for Native artists and as the Grants Officer at the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum to garner funding for educational programming, exhibitions, and curatorial projects. Linda was also the executive director for Santa Fe’s Railyard Park – a 13-acre urban park and greenspace community hub offering conservation, science, and environmental education programming. With expertise in grants and program management, research, and fund development, Linda looks forward to contributing to Red Cloud Indian School’s mission and future success. Linda is a certified Master Gardener in two states (OH, NM), enjoys photography, travel, and she and her husband, a ceramic sculptor, live in Santa Fe.

Jessica Hallstrom – Vice President for Marketing & Communications 

Jessica Hallstrom is responsible for developing the many communication strategies that help advance Red Cloud Indian School's efforts to share the amazing stories of the people and programs here. She brings two decades of communications experience as a skilled writer, editor, and communications project manager developing dynamic publications and digital content.  Jessica has worked for several high-profile think tanks, universities, and non-profit organizations including the Pew Charitable Trusts and Brookings Institution.  She also previously worked for South Dakota's former Senator Tom Daschle.  Jessica is a graduate of Barnard College and lives in Minneapolis, MN.

Adrianne Brave Heart - Database Administrator

Adrianne Brave Heart came to Red Cloud in the fall of 2013, temporarily at first, as the Grant’s Assistant. In early 2014, she was hired full time as an Advancement Associate and works on the online giving effort among other projects. Prior to coming to Red Cloud, Adrianne worked in several capacities ranging from a GED Tutor to a Financial Education Specialist for a Native Community Development Financial Institute to spending a couple of years consulting in project management. She received her B.A. in English from Carthage College in 2003 and has since moved back to Pine Ridge. She has one daughter and currently resides in the Calico community. Adrianne is both Northern Cheyenne and Lakota.

Adrianne was drawn to Red Cloud for several reasons, but mostly because she believes in the power of education to empower and revolutionize the lives for indigenous peoples and cultures like the Lakota.

Rilda Means - Director of Communications and Marketing

Rilda joined the Advancement Office in May of 2013 as an External Affairs Intern and was hired full-time as the Community Relations Associate later that year. In October of 2014 she accepted the position of Community Relations Coordinator. Rilda graduated from Black Hills State University in 2013 with her B.S. in Political Science and American Indian Studies.

Rilda was drawn to Red Cloud because she had a strong attachment to Red Cloud after attending the school from Kindergarten through her senior year. She knew it would be a very positive work environment and could use the mentoring from coworkers to help guide her on her educational and career path. She loves working at Red Cloud because the work routine is never the same. Rilda enjoys meeting visitors through the campus tours that she administers and doing projects for the Community Relations office. Rilda says, “I’m discovering that this job is something I might possibly want as a career.”

Marcus Fast Wolf - Community Relations Associate

Marcus is the current Community Relations Associate, he began working at Red Cloud in December 2018. He is a 2012 graduate of Red Cloud High School and in 2017 he received his B.S. in Sport Marketing and Administration from Northern State University.

Raven Gray – Annual Fund Officer

Raven was born and raised in Pine Ridge, South Dakota and is a part of the Oglala Lakota Tribe. She is alumna of Red Cloud Class of 2011. Raven graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 2016. She is pursuing her Masters of Public Health. Raven was previously the Database Manager for the Development Office. She now serves as the Executive Assistant to the President. Raven has worked for Red Cloud since 2016 in various capacities.

DeAndra McLaughlin – Digital Marketing Specialist

DeAndra McLaughlin is a 2011 graduate of Red Cloud Indian School, having been a Red Cloud student since pre-K. She attended Stanford University, receiving her B.A. in Psychology in June 2016. She will graduate in December 2018 with her Masters of Public Health degree from South Dakota State University. She returned to Red Cloud in September 2016 as an Advancement Associate, with a focus on data management for the Leadership Society. In 2019, DeAndra accepted the role of the Digital Marketing Specialist. She is Oglala Lakota, born and raised on the reservation.

Mary Weasel Bear - Direct Mail Specialist

Mary Weasel Bear has worked in the Development Office since 1981 and is the Office Manager / Special Gift / Matching Gift Specialist. She was raised a Lakota-Catholic by her parents who favored Red Cloud School for the education of their children. The memory of this is why she comes to work every day - so that the students can have the same opportunity for quality education. Mary enjoys reading and spending time with her two granddaughters.

Bernadette "Bunni" Waters-White Plume - Database Manager

Bernadette "Bunni" Waters-White Plume joined the Development Office in April of 1995, and serves as the Direct Mail Specialist. She is from Pine Ridge, SD. She has three "beautiful creatures" at home - her children; Ashley, Alan and Lenny White Plume - and she says that she thanks Tunkasila every day for giving them to her. Ashley is currently a student at Oglala Lakota College, Alan is a senior at Pine Ridge High School, and Lenny is is in the third grade at Porcupine Day School.

Bunny says "I love Red Cloud. The staff and students are so polite and happy...They all greet you with a heartwarming handshake, and it's a good place to call home." What keeps her working hard is not wanting the mail to fall behind, and seeing the faces of the kids every day. She appreciates how the other ladies in the Development Office work together through all of the challenges of the job, and use their skills and talents to find solutions to whatever needs arise. 

Darlene Weasel Bear - Direct Mail Specialist

Darlene Weasel Bear, began working in the Development Office in May, 1970, right after her graduation from Red Cloud High School. She started out typing envelopes, inserting third-class letters, and sorting mail by zip code order. She then advanced to running first-class letters on four typewriters, and typing return envelopes until the computers came in (which made her work a lot easier!). Today her job involves entering gifts for new and prior donors, the Friends Program, managing credit card gifts, and recording gifts from foundations, grants, estates, specials, etc.

Darlene loves working at Red Cloud because of her children, her peers, and seeing all the great achievements the school has attained through her 39 years at the institution. She says that the work might be hard and tiring at times but that's what keep her going. She recalls that when Fr. Earl Kurth,  Fr. John Paul and Fr. Bill MacKenney began working in the Development Office, they recognized how much work the team put into keeping Red Cloud going.

Darlene has two sons, two daughters, and five grandchildren, (four boys and a girl).  Her oldest daughter went to Red Cloud High School for all four years, and her other daughter and one of her sons attended Red Cloud from K-12. After graduating from Red Cloud, Darlene went off to school at the National College of Business in Rapid City, SD, and then studied for four years at Oglala Lakota College.

Karen Weasel Bear - Direct Mail Specialist

Karen Weasel Bear works as the Data Processor in the Advancement Office. She started working at Red Cloud back in November of 1986. At the time, she worked for Fr. Roger Kelcher and Fr. Earl Kurth. Back then, the staff of the Development Office (as it was called) used manual typewriters to type letters, and inserted them in window envelopes for all new and exiting donors. They recorded all the incoming donations on index cards and filed them in filing cabinets in the office. 

Before Karen worked at Red Cloud, she was a teachers aide at the old Seventh Day Adventist School a few miles to the north. Her salary there was $125 a month. One day, her sisters Darlene and Mary asked her to come take a typing test for a job opening in the Red Cloud Development Office. And "Hooray!" - she passed and has been here since. For four of her 26 years of service, she worked as a payroll clerk in the Business Office. The Development Office has been her favorite job, however, because she says she feels more at ease and comfortable with the employees and especially working for Jane Farrell.

Karen is a 1979 graduate of Red Cloud. She says, "We were the largest freshman class of over 200 students, and the largest graduating class up to that point. We were also the last seniors to finish out our senior year in the old Red Cloud Hall and boys' dorm. And right after Christmas vacation, we moved into the new high school. Someday I would like to see my grandchildren graduate from here because it is the best school here on the reservation academically, and it is a good atmosphere for all children and adults.  I give a big 'Thank you' to all the teachers, volunteers, Jesuits, sisters, other staff, and benefactors for they provide all of us with a great education. Wopila Tanka!"

Katherine Starr - Direct Mail Specialist

Katherine Starr started working for the Development Office in November of 1985 as a Direct Mail Specialist. She is from Oglala, SD, a graduate of Pine Ridge School, is married to Edward Starr (an alumna), and has five children: Pamela, James, Patrick, Sheryl and Tamara. All have attended Red Cloud School. Three graduated from Red Cloud School, two received their GED, and all have furthered their education. She loves all of her grandchildren and enjoys being a grandma.