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December 7, 2021 Believer Stories

Achievement Story: Lisa Casey, Student Support Specialist, North High School

Lisa Casey
Lisa Casey, a student support specialist at North High School, encourages her students to "break the mold" and see what is possible for their future. (Photo courtesy of Caitlin Yamada, Sioux City Journal)

Sioux City, Iowa – Lisa Casey is helping Native American students in the Sioux City schools see what is possible for their future, encouraging them to “break the mold.”

Casey, a student support specialist at North High School, is a member of the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska. In her role, she works with at-risk students to provide students and their families with the resources they need. Sometimes, this could mean helping find transportation to school or daycare for younger siblings to allow the older students to attend school.

Native American teachers make up less than one percent of teachers in the United States, according to the 2020 National Center for Education Statistics.

Sioux City has the largest population of American Indian and Alaska Natives in any Iowa city. Within the district, 415 students, or 3.1 percent of the district is Native American.

Casey said she would love to see more Native Americans working in the district.

“That way our students see that ‘I could do this,'” she said.

When Native students say they feel lost or invisible in school, Casey said, she tells them it’s hard for her too.

“When I come to work every day and I know I’m the only Native American staff member that works in the building,” she said, but she does it for the students and families to provide help.

Read more of Lisa’s story, courtesy of Caitlin Yamada with the Sioux City Journal.