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Episode 6: Rooted in Relationship

A return to community roots can make schools a better place.

Air Date: May 17, 2022

Host Jonathan Santos Silva returns to his old stomping grounds in South Dakota, where he speaks with staff and students at Todd County Middle School about how they’re leaning into Lakota culture to help foster an inclusive environment and help build healthy student-staff relationships.


About the Show

Changing Course is a podcast from Teach For America’s One Day Studio that explores what’s possible when schools empower students in their own educational paths. Every episode, host Jonathan Santos Silva shares stories from students, teachers, and administrators about how they’ve reinvented traditional approaches to traditional education.

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Meet The Host
Jonathan Santos Silva

Jonathan Santos Silva (South Dakota '10)

Jonathan Santos Silva is the Founding Executive Director of The Liber Institute and creator and host of The Bored of Ed, a podcast that amplifies the voices of inspiring BIPOC educators who are changing the face of education. He has provided technical support to South Dakota’s Native American Achievement Schools and has served as a school founder and principal, instructional coach, and education consultant.

Featured In This Episode

Dana Haukaas, Principal, Todd County Middle School

Dana Haukaas is in her seventh year serving as principal of Todd County Middle School in Mission, South Dakota. Haukaas grew up in Todd County and is heavily invested in seeing the the community thrive in a post pandemic world.


Chris Mosner, Assistant Principal at Todd County Middle School

Prior to becoming Assistant Principal of Todd County Middle School, Chris Mosner worked his way up the ranks, starting as a paraprofessional (or teacher’s assistant), moving into a teacher role, and eventually coming to Todd County Middle School.

Meadow, Student

Meadow is a seventh grader at Todd County Middle School and serves on the student council.

Leticia Fernandez, Student

Leticia is an eight grader at Todd County Middle School. Last winter she helped organize for the White Buffalo Calf Woman’s Society, a nonprofit in South Dakota that serves to end violence in and around the Rosebud Reservation.

Sage Fast Dog, School Board Member, Todd County School District

Sage Fast Dog (Sichangu, Lakota) serves on the Todd County School Board, and is the Founder of the first Lakota Immersion School on the Rosebud Reservation. Prior to these roles he served as the Native American Achievement School’s fellow at Todd County Middle School and as the Lakota language instructor for over a decade.