Christie M. Poitra, Ph.D.
Native American Institute
Interim DirectorJustin S. Morrill Hall of Agriculture
446 W. Circle Drive, Room 412
East Lansing MI 48824
Christie M. Poitra, Ph.D., is the Interim Director of the Michigan State University (MSU) Native American Institute. She is a first-generation college graduate, Latina and first-generation descendant of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians.
Dr. Poitra is an affiliate faculty member in the MSU American Indian & Indigenous Studies program and MSU Bio/Computational Evolution in Action Consortium (BEACON Center). She is the recipient of the MSU Distinguished Community Partnership Award, MSU Excellence in Diversity Award, Education Pioneers Fellowship, and Michigan Educational Policy Fellowship Program.
Dr. Poitra was an award-winning teacher in a reservation K-12 school. She was appointed for several years in the MSU Office of K-12 Outreach—where she worked on issues of instructional leadership in diverse school contexts. She served as a project manager for the Los Angeles Unified School District, and an education consultant at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Her doctorate is in educational policy from the MSU College of Education. Dr. Poitra also holds a master of arts degree in American Indian studies from UCLA, and a bachelor of arts degree in legal studies from UC Berkeley.
Dr. Poitra is a scholar of K-12 Indigenous education policy and practice. Her research and service interests are defined by three interrelated ideas. Firstly, how current state, federal, district and tribal policy contexts affect Indigenous education experiences in K-12 schools (i.e., reservation and reservation-adjacent schools). Her second area of inquiry looks at the efforts of institutional partnerships (i.e., tribal governments, tribal colleges, universities and K-12 schools) to Indigenize K-12 curriculum, practice and instructional leadership. Lastly, how tribal governments respond to shifting political climates through educational policy and program development and implementation.