Janelle Vanasse is an educator in Alaska and advocate for college and post-secondary preparation for underserved students. Janelle has lived and worked with Alaska Native students throughout her career. She has worked to honor the culture that students bring into the school with them through becoming reflective of her own culture and biases. Her sons attended Ayaprun Elitnaurvik, a Yup'ik Immersion school where they too benefited from the generosity of the culture and teachings of Yup'ik people.
Janelle's passion for this project was born out of her own journey. She came to Alaska with dedication to public education but very little understanding of the dynamics of schools and Alaska Native education. Through many years of observing, mentorship from others, and mistakes, she began to be more aware of the benefit when students are invited to bring their whole selves into the academic setting.
Janelle started Becoming Aware as a doctoral project at Gonzaga University. She will graduate in June 2021. Janelle holds a Masters degree in Educational Leadership from the University of Alaska as well as a Superintendent Endorsement. Janelle obtained her Bachelor's of Science in Education from St. Cloud State in Minnesota.
Janelle has served in education for over 30 years with 20 years of experience in Administration. She lived and served in the Yukon Kuskokwim Delta region of Alaska for 20 years were she was impacted significantly by the deep Yup'ik culture of the communities. She also served as the Superintendent of Mt. Edgecumbe High School, a statewide boarding school serving primarily Alaska Native students from all over the state.