“Telling the Stories of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community”

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“Telling the Stories of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community”

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August 18, 2022

Salt River Schools Educator Shares Passion for Education in New Position


An educator with multiple years of service is now the acting superintendent/director of education for Salt River Schools. Dr. Melody Herne was named to the position on August 3 and will serve until it is filled by a permanent staff member. 

Dr. Herne shared some information about her background and how she got started in education. “My father was a career Army man and my mother was an educator. I was raised in a home where education was not only valued, but expected,” said Dr. Herne. 

She said her decision to focus on education was sparked by her professors and a passion to empower learning among young people. This led to 27 years of working within the public education system, which gave her “a chance to wear many hats and fulfill several roles,” she said. 

One of Dr. Herne’s areas of concentration has been in data analysis, such as accountability and assessments. She said, “For example, I analyze data generated from the various assessments our students take throughout the year—NWEA, BIE (Bureau of Indian Education) math and science, WIDA, AzSCI (Arizona Science Test), ACT, etc. These assessments help educators create individualized student learning and progress goals, as well as help schools identify areas of instructional need.”

She said that, as acting superintendent for Salt River Schools, her goal is to see how the schools can meet students where they are in their learning abilities and help them grow in their education journey. “I am also excited to partner with families, staff and other stakeholders to examine and update the Salt River Schools Strategic Plan,” she said.

From her experience working with the Community, she appreciates the sense of family within Salt River Schools. “We watch students matriculate through our schools, we empower families with wraparound services, we rally around one another through all circumstances. It is truly a family,” said Dr. Herne.