Department of Education

The Department of Education’s mission is to provide learners of all ages access to a variety of high-quality educational opportunities. The department hopes to enhance the pride, culture and expectations of all Band members. Commissioner Suzanne Wise, who was appointed by Chief Executive Melanie Benjamin and ratified by the Band Assembly, oversees the department.

Suzanne Wise, Commissioner of Education: 320-532-7550, suzanne.wise@millelacsband.com

Joycelyn Shingobe, Executive Director: joyce.shingobe@millelacsband.com

Julie Benjamin, Administrative Financial Manager: 320-532-7851, julie.benjamin@millelacsband.com

The Band helps provide its members of all ages with a variety of educational opportunities through Head Start/Early Head Start, academics, extracurricular activities, scholarships, library services, and Ojibwe language and cultural programming.

Wewinabi Early Education 

Head Start, Early Head Start, and day care services are available for infants, toddlers and preschoolers ages 0-5 in District I. Districts II and III offer Early Head Start and Head Start to children ages 0-5.

Nay Ah Shing Schools

The Mille Lacs Band operates the K-12 Nay Ah Shing Schools in District I of the reservation. Pine Grove Leadership Academy in the Aazhoomog community of District III is a K-6 satellite of Nay Ah Shing.

Niigaan Program

The Niigaan Program of the Mille Lacs Band helps youth develop the attitudes, skills, values and behaviors that enable them to succeed in life. We encourage a healthy and physically fit lifestyle by providing recreational and organized sports complemented with cultural programming. These key elements drive our efforts and allow us to make a lasting impact on youth.

Mille Lacs Band Scholarship Program

This program provides financial aid to all Band members as they pursue their educational goals and rewards them financially when they achieve those goals. This program is not intended to replace other forms of financial aid. All applications and forms can be found at millelacsband.com under Programs & Services and Education.

Anishinaabe College

Anishinaabe College (formerly Mille Lacs Tribal College) is located at Nay Ah Shing Upper School – 43651 Oodena Drive in Onamia. The college offers post-secondary classes through collaborative partnerships with both Central Lakes College and Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College. Please contact the MLBO Higher Education Office at 320-532-4695 to register.

Minisinaakwaang Leadership Academy

Minisinaakwaang Leadership Academy, an Ojibwe Indian Charter School located in East Lake, is dedicated to a mission of significantly improving the academic performance of Ojibwe students from the East Lake/District II community. The academy has a partnership with the Minnesota Department of Education and is operated independently from the Mille Lacs Band. The school opened in fall 2007.

Education Links:

Mille Lacs Band Scholarship Program

Additional Scholarships Available to Band Members

Educational Programs to Consider

Internships and Apprenticeships

The Non-Removables

Nay Ah Shing students produced a documentary in 2010 that explores the problems of violence and drug and alcohol abuse on the reservation. The video, which features interviews with both students and Elders, is a part of a project sponsored by the Bureau of Indian Education. It will be combined into one documentary with videos from 20 other Native American schools.