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For Immediate Release: Nov. 13, 2006
Contact: Mary Stadick Smith - (605) 773-7228

Rapid City educator receives national recognition

Robert Cook, a Rapid City teacher, recently was named the National Indian Education Association’s Teacher of the Year. The award was presented during the NIEA’s 37th annual convention in Alaska.

“They couldn’t have picked a better person for this award,” said Secretary of Education Rick Melmer. “Robert Cook is completely dedicated to his students. He firmly believes that, if given the opportunity, students can and will succeed. He is soft-spoken and humble but persistent in pursuing solutions to the challenges related to the education of our American Indian students.”

Cook has 17 years of experience in the education field. That experience includes teaching social studies at the Crow Creek, Little Wound and Lower Brule tribal schools. He also taught at the Red Cloud Indian School. Most recently, he teaches in a 9th-grade transition program, the Lakolkiciyapi Room, for American Indian students at Central High School.

Cook was South Dakota’s recipient of the prestigious Milken Award in 2005. He recently completed his master’s degree in education administration from Oglala Lakota College.

The Teacher of the Year award is given to a NIEA member and current classroom teacher, who shows exceptional achievement in teaching American Indian students. The winner also is chosen for his or her efforts to improve the quality of life for American Indian, Alaska Native or Native Hawaiian communities through education.