Weekly Blog

May 15th, 2015

Kogee S. Thomas, Coordinator, American Indian Education, Capistrano Unified School District

Kogee S. Thomas, Coordinator of the American Indian Education at Capistrano Unified School District, has been selected as an Honored Member of the Covington Who’s Who Executive and Professional Registry. The selection recognizes Kogee S. Thomas’s commitment to excellence in Native American Education.

Beginning her career when she entered UCLA while completing her master’s degree, Kogee S. Thomas was serving as a counselor for minority students. Over the years she has developed her expertise in directing grant programs concerned with school restructuring and curriculum improvement, has worked to articulate secondary, community college, and university courses for Native American students, and has spearheaded programs aimed to improve the participation and involvements of parents, teachers, and counselors, resulting in such programs as the Sherman Intertribal Academy and various Title V programs.

Now the coordinator and research specialist of the American Indian Education at Capistrano Unified School District since retiring as an Associate Director from the University of California at Irvine, Ms. Thomas promotes American Indian history and culture through Lobo Lodge Museum, a unique repository of artifacts and information at Clarence Lobo Elementary School.

A mentor to other professionals in assisting with Native American issues, Ms. Thomas is also a longtime protagonist in the efforts to improve the condition of American Indians.

“My dream is to always promote students to graduate level studies,” Ms. Thomas said. “We desperately need people in all academic fields to protect and develop our lands. While we sometimes have few resources, we can look toward other countries, such as Israel, where education has allowed people to develop a good quality of life using what is available. We need to support and encourage tribal colleges to promote higher academic degrees and more academic research and we need to prepare Native Americans to be legislators and hold public office.”

Ms. Thomas holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Education from Azusa Pacific University, a Master’s Degree in Political Science from UCLA, and a PhD in Political Science, also from UCLA. She is the founder of the American Indian Counselors and Recruiters Association in the UC system, which has been in existence for more than 40 years now. At Capistrano Unified School District, she has also established two unique museums of Native American culture and history that are aligned with curriculum workbooks using the Common Core Standards, which are designed to enhance student awareness of Native American traditions, history, and the dreams of the people for the future.

For more information, visit www.capousd.org.