Mackert Elementary School Faculty & Staff Profiles

Ann-Marie Amiotte is the Assistant Principal of Red Cloud Elementary. She has been at the school since 2005. Ann-Marie loves working at Red Cloud because she loves the school ideal of emphasizing the Christian/Lakota spiritual development and growth in the general atmosphere of the school. She appreciates how the school places a value on wisdom, courage, respect and generosity, along with the other spiritual values flowing from Christianity.

Kashmir Bettelyoun was born in 1992 in Pine Ridge, South Dakota at what is now called the “old hospital”. She grew up living with her grandparents for most of her life. She moved in with her mother and stepfather when she was 13, and still lives with them today. Her main hobbies include reading, painting, and horse riding. She also enjoys fishing, camping, hiking, and cloud watching. Kashmir particularly likes to work with horses; teaching them not to spook or how to stay calm when they are jumpy or high-spirited. She loves a good laugh and likes a little dark humor every now and then. Kashmir is a full-time student and is currently working on a B.S. in Natural Science. After graduation, she plans to go into forestry.

Cassandra Big Crow is the third grade teacher’s aide under AmeriCorps. This is her first year working at Red Cloud Indian School. Cassandra graduated from Red Cloud High School in 2011 and now attends Oglala Lakota College, working towards a Bachelor’s degree in K-8 Elementary Education.  Cassandra decided to work at Red Cloud because she loves children and believes that Red Cloud students are extraordinary. She finds them to be very respectful and intelligent. Cassandra feels as though the faculty and staff are like a big family, and she knows she will enjoy working with them this year.

Stacey Darnell teaches first grade. She has been at Red Cloud since 2000. Stacey has taught one year in 4th grade, seven years in 2nd grade and is in her fifth year in 1st grade. She lives in Gordon, Nebraska with her husband and two children. Stacey is very excited about watching her students make the transition into independent learners. She enjoys helping students learn to read, and seeing their excitement when they can pick up a book and read by themselves.

Claire Dille teaches third Grade at Red Cloud. She began teaching here in 2011, and is part of the Red Cloud Volunteer Program. In addition to teaching, Claire coaches basketball and is a bus driver. She is originally from St. Louis, Missouri, and is the youngest of four children. Claire loves being a part of Red Cloud. She feels that she is among a very large family who support, love, and care for each other. Because of this family she is able to continually grow and become a better teacher for the students.

Abby Garwood teaches Kindergarten at Red Cloud Elementary. She started at Red Cloud in the fall of 2011 and is originally from Valparaiso, Indiana. Abby believes that her students are the young people who will make a deep impact on this community in the future. Every day, her class shows Abby the beauty of a child's laughter and the wonderful journey along the way. She hopes that her students leave Kindergarten with a joy of learning, excitement toward the community that they live in, and the hope that they can accomplish anything they put their mind to.

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.

Allison Henning is working in the counseling department at Red Cloud as an intern from Minnesota State University, Mankato.  She began this fall, 2012, working with both elementary students and high school students.  She has traveled from Prior Lake, Minnesota to complete her practicum work before graduating with her Bachelor of Science in Social Work.  Allison is grateful for the opportunity to complete her degree while working with and learning from a culture different from her own.

Gretchen Lees is the fourth grade teacher at Red Cloud Elementary School. She enjoys teaching children who are insatiably curious. Gretchen began her career at Red Cloud School teaching high school science in the fall of 1989. There, she taught students physical science, geology, chemistry and physics for 15 years. Gretchen lives near Chadron, Nebraska with her husband. Her hobbies include reading, gardening, and working on cross-stitch projects.

Kelly McConnaughey teaches religion class to Kindergarten through fourth grade. She has been at Red Cloud since 2010 and has worked as a bus driver, archery instructor, and art club facilitator. Kelly is from Alabama and graduated from Boston College. She loves teaching religion because her students teach her about God and the meaning of life daily. Her sister is Shannon McConnaughey, who teaches biology and anatomy at Red Cloud High School.

Kevin O’Brien teaches Physical Education for Kindergarten through 8th grade 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.

Beverly Pipe On Head is the Lakota language teacher at Red Cloud Elementary School. She started in this position in the fall of 2012. Prior to that, she worked at Loneman School in Oglala for four years as the junior high Lakota teacher. Beverly retired from a 33 year-long nursing career to teach the language, and she feels it is especially needed at the lower levels. She loves to hear the children speak Lakota and be confident in their culture.

Beverly has five brothers and two sisters, as well as three children and seven grandchildren. All of her family travel to and dance at powwows. Beverly herself is a traditional dancer. She loves to go to powwows, and to make the traditional dresses and regalia for her family. Her daughters also know the art of making these materials.

KayCee Quiver is the Kindergarten aide this year, her first at Red Cloud. She is originally from the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming, but grew up in Pine Ridge from the age of two. She was raised by her grandmother, Delphine Red Cloud. KayCee graduated from Pine Ridge High School in 2009, and is currently taking college classes. She is pursuing a B.A. in early childhood education, and an A.A. in Lakota Studies. She originally wanted to go into the field of nursing, but changed her mind after she realized that she wanted to teach the Lakota language to the younger generation.

KayCee was more than happy to be able to become an AmeriCorps member, and to have the opportunity to be a Kindergarten teacher’s aide. She is hopeful that this school year will be a great learning experience for her future in the field of education, and she hopes to make an impact on the lives of the students she works with.

Matthew Rama teaches second grade at Red Cloud Elementary.  He got his start at Red Cloud School as a student teacher back in 1997.  He then returned to teach in 2004 as an English teacher in the high school.  Matt then taught Computers for the subsequent years, up until the spring of 2012. This year, he has returned to the elementary school.  Matt lives in Pine Ridge with his wife and children.

Kathleen Siebrasse is the district and elementary librarian at Red Cloud Indian School. She started working here in 2008. Kathleen was born and raised in eastern South Dakota. She then spent 26 years in Manitoba, Canada where she raised her family. Kathleen has two children and four grandsons. She loves reading and horses.

Kathleen loves working at Red Cloud because the students are always anxious to read, and are curious about information. Doing this work for over 30 years has given her inspiration every day, despite living in Hot Springs, SD and driving 120 miles each day! She hopes to finish combining the elementary and middle school libraries this year in the old Montessori classroom. Kathleen says, “If anyone wishes to visit our library, please do so – all are welcome!”

Izaiah Slow Bear is the second grade aide at Red Cloud Elementary School. He is an AmeriCorps worker, and started at Red Cloud in the fall of 2012. Izaiah was born and raised in Batesland, SD, and he went to Batesland School through eighth grade. He graduated from Pine Ridge High School in 2011. At Red Cloud, Izaiah is hoping for a good working experience and a rich learning experience.

Nanette “Sis” Twiss is the Red Cloud Elementary School office manager. She is an alumna of Red Cloud, having attended the school from age three up until she graduated in 1987. Sis obtained her Bachelors degree in Human Services from Oglala Lakota College in 2003. She believes in the quality of education that Red Cloud offers, and is excited to work with all the students.

Marilyn Van Briggle started working at Red Cloud in the fall of 2001. She works with Title 1 students in grades K-4 in the math subject area. Marilyn loves working with kids of all ages and looks forward to the new school year. She notes that math is a subject that can be hard for some students to enjoy. Finding enjoyable ways to incorporate math into the students' day is something she works hard to accomplish. Once the basic skills are mastered, she finds that there are lots of activities that can enrich their learning.

Marilyn lives 8 ½ miles north of Gordon, Nebraska. She and her husband have two boys who are married and busily engaged in their careers. One son is a project leader for WalMart at their national headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas. The other son has started his first year of medical school at UNMC in Omaha. Marilyn and her husband host an exchange student each year. This year their student, Monica, is attending Red Cloud High School.