Native American school in Wahpeton under new leadership

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WAHPETON, N.D. — The Circle of Nations School for Native American students in  Wahpeton is under new leadership.

The 2018-19 education year is the first for Principal Trevor Gourneau and CEO Tanner Rabbithead.

Approximately 80 resident students in grades 4-8 are expected on Circle of Nations’ campus beginning Monday, Aug. 27. Gourneau, 39, is confident they’ll take advantage of opportunities not available either in rural communities or on a reservation.

“I grew up on a reservation, spending most of my life there,” he said. “I had success off the reservation with my education and teaching. I think I can relate to our students.”

While Gourneau is new to Circle of Nations, he has spent 11 years teaching special education in Fargo. Rabbithead, 38, has been with Circle of Nations for nearly 20 years. His experience includes supervising the school resource officer program.

“I hope to get the campus-wide (focus) back to one cohesive unit, focusing on the student,” Rabbithead said.

“Being that we are an off-reservation Native American school, I want the students to be proud of their culture and heritage. Because of this, we started giving our campus a more Native American feel and look this summer,” he explained.