Dr. Deborah Jackson-Dennison is an enrolled member of the Diné, (Navajo) nation. She obtained her Associates Degree in Liberal Arts from the first tribally controlled college, Diné College in 1981. In 1986, Dr. Dennison earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Education from the University of New Mexico, and her Masters and Doctoral graduate degrees in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from Arizona State University in 1997 and 2001 respectively. As a life-long educator, Dr. Dennison began teaching high school in 1986. Since becoming the first Navajo woman to serve as an Arizona public school superintendent in 2002, Dr. Dennison continues to implemented systemic reforms that correlate and integrate with Indigenous community responsiveness and cultural relevancy. Her philosophy of correlating and integrating such throughout all areas of a school system has proven to bring about greater ownership of the otherwise historically foreign and less successful education system for Indigenous people. Dr. Dennison’s 20-year span as a successful Arizona public school superintendent include leading 3 school districts on the Navajo and Apache nations. Window Rock, Ganado and currently the San Carlos Unified School District have all experienced successes especially with increases in student achievement yearly using the systemic reforms to meet the identified needs of the Indigenous communities and students served.
In May, 2010 Dr. Deborah Jackson-Dennison was appointed by President Barack Obama to the National Advisory Council on Indian Education (NACIE), and still continues to serve as Chair of NACIE. Dr. Dennison has also served 9 years on the National Association of Federally Impacted Schools (NAFIS) board, as well as 13 years on the National Indian Impacted School Association (NIISA) board. She is also currently serving as Chair of the Arizona State Impact Aid Association (ASIAA).