Jessica J. Buckless
Faculty, Elementary Education
Stevenson Rm. 131
The University of Northern Colorado, Doctor of Education, Ed.D (Candidate) Educational Studies, Minor in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies
Hamline University, MAT Master of Arts in Teaching, 2016
B.A., Communication Studies, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, 2013
Gates Millenium Scholar & Teaching Fellow-Hamline University
Jessica was raised on the Flathead Indian Reservation. Growing up, Jessica spent time attending different cultural ceremonies. Some of her favorite childhood memories include camping and fancy dancing with her sister, mom and grandpa at the Arlee Powwow. She also spent time traveling around the state competing in different sports as an All-Conference and All-State Polson Pirate athlete.
Jessica started her teaching career teaching preschool students in the suburbs of the Twin-Cities. After obtaining her Master of Arts in Teaching, she began her elementary teaching career at Anishinabe Academy, an American Indian Magnet school in South Minneapolis. It was at Anishinabe Academy where Jessica discovered her love for working with students from other beautiful and diverse cultural backgrounds. At Anishinabe Academy, Jessica was able to connect and learn more about her great-grandma’s Ojibwe heritage. Jessica eventually moved on to Noble Academy, a Hmong-focused charter school in the Twin-Cities. While at Noble Academy, Jessica did a research study on the Hmong experience in schools. Her research re-affirmed her understanding of the importance of culture representation in the classroom. Jessica moved to Colorado after being accepted into a Doctor of Education program at The University of Northern Colorado. While teaching elementary students in Colorado, Jessica was able to share about the importance of cultural representation in the classroom with her colleagues and students. One example was making sure that the school had books on current American Indian people and making sure that classrooms were prepared for Thanksgiving lessons that properly represented American Indian people with integrity and historically accurate events.
Jessica is passionate about her doctorate work and new teaching position. Her dissertation work is focused around tribal college leadership. She is inspired by many family members in the area of education such as her parents and her grandfather Joe McDonald who served as founding president of Salish Kootenai College for decades. He has shown her how education can give purpose and opportunities to people living on reservations. She is also highly influenced by her sister who helps AIAN people in the area of public health. Jessica feels so blessed to be surrounded by so many inspiring and motivating people as she steps into her instructor position at Salish Kootenai College.