Ron Lessard (Mohawk) is a Sun Dancer and a Viet Nam veteran. He served as Chief of Staff of White House Initiative on American Indian and Alaska Native Education (WHIAIANE) from September 2013 to November 2016 and since then has served as the Acting Executive Director. WHIAIANE leads the President’s Executive Order 13592, Improving American Indian and Alaska Native Educational Opportunities and Strengthening Tribal Colleges and Universities. The Initiative supports activities that strengthen the Nation by expanding education opportunities and improving education outcomes for all American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN) students.
Ron previously served as the Strategic Advisor for Native American Affairs for the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS). CNCS is an independent federal agency under the executive branch of the U.S. government that improves lives, strengthens communities, and fosters civic engagement through service and volunteering. He was the agency’s primary liaison to American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian (AI/AN/NH) communities and the organizations and federal agencies that serve them.
Ron was the Director of Cultural Competency for the National Minority Aids Education and Training Center (NMAETC) at Howard University College of Medicine where he was responsible for the development Cultural Competency education, training, and capacity building tools for the purpose of educating and training, minority and minority serving clinicians serving AI/AN/NH communities. Prior to NMAETC, he was the executive director of the Baltimore American Indian Center and served on the Governor’s Baltimore City Crime Victim’s Advisory Board.