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Dr. Goldtooth

Ya’ahteeh (Greetings) to each one of you! 

I am Redhouse Clan and born for Salt People Clan. I grew up on the Dine’ Nation as far back as I recall. It seems like yesterday when I played school with neighboring children at home amid the unfinished chores that were tasked with obligations. Guess who always took the role of a teacher. It was none other than a chizzie/champed face, me, in a pair of highwater printed pants with lace brown loafers. 

Brand name attire was foreign to me; however, I was accustomed to clothing as well as shoes that were for comfort until it became a nightmare at school. I was bullied. I was called disrespectful names. I was outrightly ridiculed. I did not know the reasons, but little did I know back then, I was perceived differently. Because of this, I genuinely believe in the saying, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” Still, I was emotionally hurt because of it.  

Because of uncontrollable instances like this, whether minor or major disruption to the well-being of people, I chose to become a math teacher, school counselor, and, presently, a school principal, to help prevent behaviors that are intolerable, unbearable, unendurable, and inadmissible in a school setting. It will take a village such as ours to educate our students about acceptable and respectful behavior towards self and others. That is why, at Tsehootsooi Middle School (TMS), we have PBIS (Positive Behavioral Interventions & Supports). 

These self-reflections take me back on prior lived experiences such as playing school, playing house, playing store, playing prom, playing graduation with cap and gown, and, of course, herding sheep, which later in the years I have learned that the word ‘sheep’ is already in plural form. Because of these experiential moments, I resonate with our students, our teachers, our parents, our grandparents, and district and tribal leaders about our beliefs, concerns, and interests of where we have been and who we are today. Along the way, we endured and overcame challenges, but at the end of the day, we prevailed. Life is tough, but who will live it for us, but ourselves? 

With this brief storytelling of my past, I chose to be a part of your community even though we come from different tribal agencies. We have stories to tell. For example, residing in various locations have many epic similarities and some differences of background knowledge as to who we are, individually, and to understand why we think, say, and do affects our connections with the people around us. That is why we are unique individuals. Therefore, I am looking forward to working with you, as your Tsehootsooi Middle School Principal for the School Year 2023-24. School, family, and community partnership is highly encouraged. 

At TMS, we strive for student excellence. Our students are influenced, like our parents and grandparents have molded us, by our rich teaching of equity and equality in balancing Hozho (Harmony) between Western Hegemony and Dine' values, morals, and ethics. Therefore, Culture, Language, and Heritage is our foundation of capturing and fashioning our students to be the best that they can be in a multicultural society. In doing so, we are preparing our students to become a successful person in a career she/he chooses, while being in a safe, healthy, and harmonious school climate. 

On behalf of TMS Staff Members, please help me welcome you as a parent, grandparent, and caretaker of your child/ren for being a part of our community of learners and achievers at TMS. Go Scouts! 

Ahe’hee (Thank you), Dr. Dave Goldtooth