Advancement Staff Profiles

Tashina Rama - Executive Director 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 Executive Director 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.

Jill Marshall - Vice President for Strategy & Operations

Jill is Senior Advisor for Strategy and Operations and works closely with Red Cloud’s leadership to support the organization’s priorities, and provides communication, financial oversight and planning tools to facilitate execution of programs and activities related to the organization's strategic plan, financial planning, and advancement efforts. Jill works for Red Cloud from her home in Asheville, North Carolina, and calls South Dakota her “second home”, having worked for more than half of her career to improve the lives of youth and families across the state, beginning with her time on the staff of U.S. Senator Tom Daschle. Jill is passionate about her work at Red Cloud because of her commitment to helping nonprofit organizations realize their missions more effectively and her belief that social justice can only be realized through action not rhetoric. Jill began working at Red Cloud in 2008."

Valerie Salley - Director of Education Grants

Valerie Salley joined the advancement office staff in 2012, and serves as Officer for Grants and Institutional Giving. Before coming to Red Cloud, she worked for more than twenty years for non-profit organizations and foundations, with a strong focus on child advocacy and education.Valerie is an attorney and has worked for both Legal Aid and Kentucky’s Cabinet for Health and Family Services. Valerie was drawn to Red Cloud because she believes that education can transform lives, for children and for the generations that follow them.  She knows firsthand how powerful just one person finishing college in a family can be.She is originally from rural eastern Kentucky, but now lives in northern California with her husband and two children. They can often be found biking around their town.

Ron Hammond - Grants and Institutional Giving Officer

Ron was raised in New Hampshire and has lived primarily in the US northeast. He obtained a bachelor's degree in Business Administration at the University of New Hampshire, a master's degree in Counseling at Plymouth State University and a doctorate in Curriculum, Instruction and Administration at Boston College. In particular, Ron was inspired by his time working and studying at Boston College, a Jesuit university. To find God in all things, to explore the intersection of Faith and Reason, to express care for the whole person and promote a holistic education, these Jesuit tenets remain the foundation for Ron's professional and personal journey. He has recently relocated to a small coastal town in central California where his wife Alicia is an English and Humanities teacher. Together they live on the grounds of Cate School in Carpinteria, CA with their 9 year old son, Will and labrador Winston. Ron has two grown children, Peter, 27, who lives in Chicago and Mollie, 26, who lives in Boston. 

He has spent more than 30 years working with and for students in secondary and post-secondary education - as a teacher, coach, college counselor, dean and administrator. He believes passionately that a robust education can yield rich opportunities for those who invest themselves and will do all he can to help provide the resources to make that possible at RCIS. Ron's interests include playing four-square with his son Will, backpacking, road trips (he has visited all 50 states), baking and US politics.

Erin Cameron - Grants and Institutional Giving Officer

Erin Cameron joined Red Cloud as Grants and Institutional Giving Officer in 2015. She brings over 12 years of experience working with non-profit organizations focused on social and environmental justice, community organizing and education. Her experiences living and working in rural Appalachia for over 10 years and working at a community college in Western North Carolina for 4 years, have given her the awareness and tools to serve as an effective advocate for quality education and the life changing opportunities it provides to individuals, their families and their communities. 

Erin feels very passionate about offering people and organizations the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others. She is thrilled to be able to continue this work at Red Cloud as Grants and Institutional Giving Officer.  Erin earned her Bachelor of Arts in Cultural Anthropology from Ohio University in Athens, Ohio and currently resides in Asheville, North Carolina.

Heather Spann - Advancement Officer

Heather joined Red Cloud as a Major Gifts Officer in 2014. Prior to Red Cloud, Heather worked for The Salvation Army administrating programs and managing fundraising. Heather attended Mankato State University and studied Political Science and History. After graduating, Heather spent the next 15 years working in the Financial and Insurance Industries as a Financial Officer.  

After a successful run in the financial sector, Heather felt called to use her skills in service to something greater. She spent some time working with Parent Education in a residential chemical dependency treatment center for women and their children. From there, she found the opportunity with The Salvation Army where she furthered her experience working with social services and fundraising. Heather is excited to use her skills and experience as a Major Gifts Officer with Red Cloud.

Heather and her husband of 20 years, Jeffrey, live in Mankato, MN. They have a son and a daughter still at home with them, and one son in college in St. Louis, MO.  The family can often be found in attendance at one of the kid’s sporting events, or at the lake fishing and relaxing together.

Adrianne Brave Heart - Advancement Coordinator

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 - Community Relations Coordinator

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.”

Willi White - Communications Coordinator

Willi White joins the Advancement Team as the Communications Coordinator, previously having worked as a Gift Shop Assistant for The Heritage Center and as a Community Relations intern. His return to the organization is driven by the passion to tell Red Cloud Indian School’s (RCIS) story to a diverse global audience. He is moved to share the beautiful successes of RCIS students, many of whom are going on to make a difference in the local community and who are becoming men and women with and for others.

Willi has been part of the Red Cloud community since 1995 when he stumbled his way into his first kindergarten classroom. He graduated from RCIS in 2008 and began his post-secondary education at Creighton University in Omaha, NE. He studied Photojournalism under the mentorship of Fr. Don Doll, SJ,  renown photographer and visionary for nearly two decades of RCIS calendars. He also studied Theatre and was an active member of Creighton’s Theatre Department. Willi is a working creative, having worked with clients from L.A. to NYC and assisted on two feature film productions, producing and directing his first festival submitted short film last fall. Willi is a co-founder of the first production company on the Pine Ridge Reservation. 

Randilynn Bouche'r-Giago - Associate Director of Advancement, Raiser's Edge Database Administrator

Randilynn Bouche’r –Giago started in 2013 as the Raiser’s Edge Database Administrator. She previously partnered with the RCHS students on college preparation and readiness through SDGEARUP as the Woonspe Tiospaye Project Coordinator. She enjoyed working with Native students through engaging them with hands-on approaches to Math, Science, Critical Thinking, and Indigenous Knowledge. She hopes that Native students go on to college and come back to help their communities and people. Randilynn is Dine’ originally from Hard Rock, AZ and Isanti Dakota from Santee, NE. She has been married into the community for 8 years. She is married to Joe Giago and they have two beautiful little girls, Monica a kindergartner at Red Cloud and Wicahpi Ti Ikceya Win and another one on the way.

They currently reside north of Pine Ridge community. She obtained her degree in American Indian Studies emphasis Indigenous Language Revitalization and History from Arizona State University. She is currently finishing up her M.Ed. from the University of Minnesota-Duluth.

Simone Miyasato - Advancement Associate

Simone Miyasato started as the Advancement Receptionist in March of 2015.  She is a 1994 graduate of Red Cloud High School and left South Dakota in 1994 to pursue her degree in Hotel Management at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. While going to school, she began working for a notable Las Vegas defense attorney and moved her way up to paralegal and office manager.  After 15 years of working in that field Simone moved back to South Dakota, because family is important to her and she wanted to be close to her mother and sister. She is married to another Red Cloud alum, Benjamin Wolters, and they have a 2-year-old daughter named Mia Rose. She is happy to be back at Red Cloud and looks forward to working with the students and staff.  

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 - Direct Mail Specialist

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!"