For Immediate Release: Tribal Council Welcomes New Education Director: Dr. Joseph Claunch 07012024

Melvin J. Baker, Chairman – 970.563.2320
Summer Begay, Communication Specialist– 970.563.2313
Tribal Council Welcomes New Education Director: Dr. Joseph Claunch
Southern Ute Indian Reservation – Chairman Melvin J. Baker, Tribal Council, and Executive Officer Lindsay J. Box are delighted to welcome Dr. Joseph Claunch as the new Director of the Department of Education, effective today, July 1, 2024.
“Dr. Claunch’s dedication to fostering academic success and cultural identity within Native American communities is truly inspiring,” said Chairman Baker.  “His extensive experience in education leadership, combined with his passion for serving Indigenous youth, makes him an ideal fit to lead our Department of Education. We look forward to his contributions as we continue to provide our students with a culturally rich and positive educational experience.”
A member of the Puyallup Tribe of Tacoma, Washington, Dr. Claunch has dedicated nearly 20 years to educating and empowering Native American youth. Throughout his career, he has served as a classroom teacher, athletic coach, youth program leader, and most recently, the Executive Director of the Zuni Youth Enrichment Project for the Pueblo of Zuni in New Mexico.
Dr. Claunch holds a Bachelor’s degree in American Indian Studies from Haskell Indian Nations University, a Master’s degree in Education from the University of Oregon, and a Ph.D. in Sport and Exercise Psychology from the University of Kansas.
During this transition, the Department of Education will continue to offer services and assistance to our students, families, and staff. You may contact the Department of Education at 970-563-0237.