Mike Hoyt new IEA director at school district

In addition to his duties as activities director, Mike Hoyt will now also serve as the new Indian Education Act director for the school district after the resignation of DaNika Smalley on Feb. 29.

Schools Superintendent Bill Burr confirmed that Hoyt started on March 11.

Working in cultural education has been Hoyt’s focus since 2011. He worked as a teacher in Nome for five years, and before that worked at culture camps operated by Goldbelt and Sealaska Heritage Institute in Juneau.

“He’s got background in writing grants,” Burr said. “And he’s been involved in the cultural community.”

Hoyt moved to Wrangell last summer and has been a frequent visitor to the town throughout his life, as both sides of his family have roots here. Since his arrival, he’s been looking to expand his work with the district, in addition to his part-time job as activities director which began last September.

He wants to bring out more of the cultural aspects, history and traditions specific to this area.

Some of Hoyt’s short-term goals include providing more tutoring for Native students and finding more opportunities to work with students among the different grade levels.

He also wants to work with teachers to incorporate Native culture into the classroom. “There’s a lot of interest, but teachers aren’t always sure how to do that.”

Among his long-term goals, Hoyt wants to build up community connections, help to make people feel comfortable in the schools, and assist teachers so they know who to contact when they have questions. He wants to see higher grades and attendance levels.

Having traveled all over the state, Hoyt would like to pass on the knowledge of what he’s learned in other school settings to create a better learning environment with faculty and students.

“Culture has been my passion,” he said. “So, the opportunity to (share) that in Wrangell is exciting to me.”


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