Red Cloud Middle School Faculty and Staff Profiles

Amanda Carlow began working at Red Cloud as the K-8 Guidance Counselor in 2007. After a brief sabbatical to complete her Master's program in counseling from Creighton University, she rejoined the staff in her previous position. A former Red Cloud student, Amanda believes in empowering the whole student to achieve success academically as well as in life. Amanda is the proud mother of two children: Riyen and Ashlan.

Marilyn Carlow teaches language arts to 6th, 7th and 8th graders at Red Cloud Middle School. She has been teaching for thirty-eight years, twenty-five of them at Red Cloud. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English from Augustana College in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Marilyn enrolled her children in Red Cloud’s Montessori preschool because the Lakota language and culture were emphasized. She was also impressed with the volunteer program; it gave her children exposure to the outside world. After teaching at Shannon County schools, she joined her children at Red Cloud in 1987. She grew up on a farm near Long Lake in north-central South Dakota. She and her husband, Mike, live near Pine Ridge. They have five grown children, fifteen grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.

Amandeline Ecoffey is Red Cloud Middle School’s full-time substitute teacher, as well as the fifth Grade teacher's aide. This is her second year at Red Cloud; last year she was the Kindergarten aide. “Mando” is an AmeriCorps member. She is from the Pine Ridge area and is a Red Cloud alumna. She loves working at Red Cloud because it is such a positive environment for children as well as staff.

Chelsea Fields is the social studies teacher at Red Cloud Middle School. As a Red Cloud Volunteer, Chelsea seeks immersion into the Lakota culture. She believes that an understanding of history guides people on their search for identity. She strives to create a safe and engaging classroom community where empowered students take responsibility in their learning. Chelsea feels honored to be part of this passionate and generous Red Cloud community.

Randi Gibbons teaches elementary computers classes, and is also the Middle School Athletic Director. She began working at Red Cloud in 2011. She is from the community of Oyuhpe, in the Cankpe Opi (Wounded Knee) District. Randi comes from a long line of Red Cloud alumni. She was a student in the Red Cloud school system from the first grade to the twelfth grade, graduating in 1999. She never thought that she would become a teacher, but upon returning from college, she was hired as a teacher at Wounded Knee District School in Manderson. She worked there for five years.

At the same time Randi left WKDS, a position opened up at Red Cloud Middle School. She got a call from the principal and office manager who were very persistent that she should apply. This was exciting, as she always thought that one day she would return to her alma mater to work. Randi had excellent teacher-based support during her early years at OLL, and then at RCHS. It was that support that brought her back to Red Cloud; this place was not like any other where she had worked.

Sister Mary Jane Hebert, a sister of the Congregation of Notre Dame, began teaching religion to Grades 5-8 at Red Cloud in 1988, and has loved every moment of it. Sister is originally from a small town 50 miles south of Chicago, and is an ardent Bears fan. When speaking of Religious Education, she says, "We see Religious Formation as a lifelong process. We want the students to see their religious instruction not as a subject, but as part of something the helps them on their life's journey. We want them to develop a strong personal relationship with God, a respect for self and the unique gifts that are theirs, a reverence for creation, and a generous spirit of service that will help to build a strong community and contribute to a peaceful society." Lakota young people are gifted with an innate knowledge of the Spirit World, and being among them can be a real experience of prayer.

Kristen House, a native of Rushville, Nebraska, currently teaches math to the 6th, 7th and 8th grades. She has been a part of the Red Cloud staff since the fall of 1999. In addition to teaching in the middle school math department, she has worked in the counseling department for the elementary and middle school. Before arriving at Red Cloud, Kristen co-owned a family clothing store for seven years. Prior to that, she taught in the Rushville Public School System for 15 years.

Kristen’s motto in her classroom is, “Practice makes permanent.” She tells her students, “ Coaches do not put their teams out on the court or field without practicing. I will not put you out in the real world without knowing and practicing math skills that are needed to survive in today’s society.” She enjoys the companionship she has built with her co-workers over the years. Watching the younger teachers come on board and grow into veteran teachers is as rewarding as watching the middle school graduates succeed in high school and beyond.

Carol Krotz teaches Title 1-identified students from the middle school. She started at Red Cloud in 1998, having taught first and second grade at Wolf Creek School for 13 years prior. Many years earlier, she worked at Pine Ridge Elementary when the BIA and Shannon County Schools were joined. At that time, she had Bruce Pipe On Head and Roger White Eyes as students and now, many years later, she says it is a privilege to be working on the same campus with them. 

Carol transferred to the Shannon County Title 1 position because she had always heard good things about Red Cloud students and the school. She has worked with struggling students who have proved time and time again that all students CAN learn! Each of them may learn best in ways different from the majority of their classmates and it is always a challenge to find ways to help them be successful.

Carol says that it is always a pleasure to drive onto the beautiful campus each day. She has made many friends with the teachers, volunteers, and other Red Cloud workers during the past 15 years, and she continues to hear from several of them almost every year. She says, “It has been great working here at Red Cloud.”

Pam Lliteras teaches reading to the 6th, 7th and 8th graders of Red Cloud Middle School. She has been at Red Cloud since the fall of 1986, beginning as the fifth grade teacher. She served in this role for her first 24 years, and more recently has worked as the upper-middle school reading teacher. Pam is originally from Southern California by way of Idaho and Wyoming. She currently lives in Chadron, Nebraska with her husband, Joe. She has three children and five grandchildren. Pam hopes to bring the love of literature to her students, so that they may become lifelong readers. She loves teaching at Red Cloud because she enjoys the students, parents, and fellow staff members. She finds Red Cloud to be a peaceful and caring environment, which is conducive to learning.

Lauren McCall teaches science and health at Red Cloud Middle School. She is from Atlanta, Georgia and is a new teacher at Red Cloud. In Atlanta both of her parents are teachers, and she has four siblings living in various states. Lauren has a deep love for science, and hopes to inspire her students in this area and to continue growing as an educator. Lauren loves science because it connects to the world inside and out, because it has deepened her love of music, and because of the beauty and interesting things that can be found in nature.

Kevin O’Brien teaches Physical Education for grades Kindergarten through 8th at Red Cloud Elementary School. This will be his second year at Red Cloud as PE Teacher, as well as second year as head coach for the Middle School football team. He will also begin his first year as assistant athletic director for the middle school. Kevin is originally from Sacramento, California and graduated from Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington in 2009. He enjoys sports - both playing and teaching - and is motivated by students improving and developing valuable personal and teamwork skills that they can carry on and off the athletic field. Kevin currently lives on campus as a Red Cloud volunteer.

Jennifer Sierra graduated from Red Cloud in 1987, and has served as Elementary Principal since 2005. Her top priority is giving her students opportunities for success, and she enjoys helping students expand their horizons through academics, personal interests, and talents. She promotes leadership and change, and believes that it is necessary to provide students with the tools to be successful in life. Jennifer is originally from Porcupine, but currently resides in Batesland with her husband and three of their five children.

Roberta Spencer is in her first year as the Lakota language teacher at Red Cloud Middle School. She is also the Family Life Coordinator at St. Agnes Church in Manderson. Roberta loves her two jobs, and is excited for her new role as middle school Lakota teacher. She taught the language at Wounded Knee District School for the last two years. She is originally from Manderson, and has lived there on and off for the past 65 years. She loves teaching the Lakota language, and her goal is for her students to be able to speak by year’s end.

Lois Wellnitz teaches Title I math in the middle school.  She began working at Red Cloud in 2007. Lois substitute taught at Red Cloud many years ago. She was excited when a position opened and she was able to work with Red Cloud students again. Lois has enjoyed working with students and families on the Pine Ridge Reservation for 20 years. She hopes to encourage all students to do their best and strive for an education that will benefit their future.

Thetna Weston is the Office Manager at Red Cloud Middle School. What she thought was going to be a short- term job in the fall of 1991 has turned into a long-term career. Thetna has worn several different hats over her years working in the middle school, ranging from patching up students with band-aids to fulfilling duties as co-athletic director. Working with the middle school students proved to be such a rewarding experience that Thetna decided to return to college to pursue a degree in elementary education. With only three semesters remaining, it will be extremely difficult for her to leave the job she loves and knows so well, but she is excited to finally finish school and step into the classroom!

Lisa Yellow Horse teaches fifth grade in the middle school. She has been in this position since 2010. Prior to that, she worked for seven years in the Public Relations office, and was the President’s Assistant for two years.

Lisa graduated from Red Cloud in 1996. She loves the school because of how much it stresses the importance of education. She appreciates how successful Red Cloud has been in making such good men and women who were able to accomplish their dreams (her being one of them). Lisa also loves the school for the spirituality they instill in the students that teacher them to become better people, and to have a strong understanding of themselves.

Lisa says: “What keeps me at Red Cloud is the way the teachers can just teach…there is never really any criticism. We have a curriculum that is very teacher-friendly and makes my feelings toward teaching better. I just love the structure of the organization. People are very friendly, and above all it is the students that keep me at Red Cloud. Knowing that I can help them in their educational journey makes me very happy about being here."

Lisa lives in Oglala. She loves to do beadwork and attend powwows.