Curriculum Development Expert Moira Coomes Becomes Red Cloud’s New Superintendent

posted June 19, 2017

After five years as Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment, Moira Coomes has been named Red Cloud Indian School’s new Superintendent of Schools, the first woman to hold the position.

“At Red Cloud, I’ve had the opportunity to work alongside some of the most talented educators, and to serve extraordinary young people who truly give me hope for the future of our community and our country,” said Coomes. “I’m humbled and honored to take on this new role as superintendent—and I hope to support teachers and students in our classrooms with the tools, resources, and encouragement they need to thrive.”

When Coomes arrived at Red Cloud, she brought over 25 years of experience as an educator and school administrator—as well as a longstanding passion for designing innovative curricula for middle and high school students.

In her time on campus, Coomes has drawn on that passion to implement high-impact changes in Red Cloud’s classrooms. She created data-driven systems to assess and strengthen teaching strategies—and dramatically expanded professional development opportunities for all of Red Cloud’s teachers. Coomes aligned Red Cloud’s curriculum with new Common Core standards in key subjects, and launched programs to help students develop college-level academic writing skills. And over the last two years, she focused critical attention on advancing science, technology, engineering, and math—or STEM—instruction at Red Cloud, to better prepare students for future careers in these fields.

“College readiness has been the driving force of my work on our curriculum. I want to make sure that, when our graduates get to college, they have the confidence to take any challenges that come their way—and to pursue whatever dream they have for their future,” said Coomes. “Education is always changing and evolving—and now we’re continuously refining our curriculum as we learn what works best to help our students succeed.”

According to Executive Vice President Robert Brave Heart Sr., Coomes’ leadership has helped to spur unprecedented successes in academic achievement. Just this year, Red Cloud’s graduating seniors earned more than $2 million in college scholarships—and nearly 100 percent are moving on to postsecondary education.

“Moira brings an incredible energy and passion for helping our students learn. She introduced research-based best practices to improve academic outcomes and implemented stronger professional development strategies to help our teachers grow,” said Brave Heart. “Today we are the strongest we’ve ever been in our ability to deliver high-quality instruction to our students, and Moira has been instrumental in getting us here. As superintendent, I know her experience and dedication will help take Red Cloud to the next level.”

For Coomes, taking on the role of superintendent opens a range of new opportunities. She will continue to be involved in introducing new curriculum advancements in core subjects like English, math, and science. And she is deeply committed to supporting Red Cloud’s unique educational programming—like its groundbreaking K-12 Lakota language curriculum—that honors culture, spirituality, and identity.

But above all, she wants to support and empower Red Cloud’s educators to create a roadmap for the future.

“I’m looking forward helping our administrators and teachers come together as a team, to create a vision for where we want to be in five years, and then to implement a plan to get us there,” said Coomes. “The amazing work we’re doing at Red Cloud—like revitalizing the Lakota language—speaks to the strength of our collective commitment to innovative education. Working together, there isn’t any challenge we can’t take on.”

Photos © Red Cloud Indian School/Willi White '08



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