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Education roundup: Workshops, spring SWEP, new library supervisor

In this 2016 photo, Dante Thomas carries cabbage palm fronds during a Brighton Culture Department project that taught SWEP youth how to rethatch a chickee. The Education Department is taking spring SWEP applications through Feb. 10. (File photo)

HOLLYWOOD – The Seminole Tribe’s K-12 students are about halfway through the school year, and those in higher education are in the spring semester.

Education Department director Michael Giacchino said there are about 172 tribal members currently enrolled in higher education and about 1,109 tribal members in K-12 programs – students who are in the department’s system.

“This time of year we are actively reaching out to families with seniors who are not in partnership with us so they can get recognition [at graduation],” Giacchino said.

Giacchino said he wants to make sure the tribe is ready in advance to recognize those who intend to take part in tribal graduation events.

New workshops, presentations

The Education Department has organized a new series of workshops and presentations that begin in February and run through July. There are five computer literacy workshops and three Seminole history presentations – funded by a recurring $10,000 grant.

The topics in computer literacy cover an introduction to Microsoft Office, an introduction to Excel, managing digital photographs, creating presentations with PowerPoint and understanding how to navigate the internet. Tribal Professional Development (TPD) staff will host the workshops, which are geared toward adults.

Marisa Schnirman, the Education Department’s assistant director, said the Seminole history presentations are being planned in conjunction with Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum director Gordon “Ollie” Wareham. Topics include a historical review of Seminole patchwork, Seminoles in the trading post era, and an overview of the Seminole Wars.

The workshops and presentations are scheduled to take place at the tribe’s libraries beginning Feb. 1. Schnirman said each workshop or presentation would be held twice at two libraries. Space is limited. For more information, contact Schnirman at (954) 989-6840, ext. 10551, or

Spring SWEP teed up

TPD is taking applications for the spring version of its Student Work Experience Program (SWEP) through Feb. 10. The program is open to enrolled students from 14-to-24 years old. Students are required to complete an application. The spring SWEP runs during each students’ respective spring break, which is typically between March 13 to April 14.

Work experience positions are paid and hours range from 20 to 40 hours a week, depending on the department and program. Other programs administered by TPD include the Work Experience Program (WEP) and the Emerging Leaders Program (ELP).

Giacchino said TPD is also seeking high school students who need community service hours to assist at the Tribal Fair & Pow Wow Feb. 10-12. He said students don’t have to attend the entire event, but could work for an afternoon, for example.

Questions about SWEP or community service can be directed to Kajir “Kai” Harriott, the Education Department’s student and professional development success coach, at (954) 993-6445.

New library supervisor

Padmini Dukharan has been named the Education Department’s new library supervisor. She started in the position Jan. 9.

Giacchino said she comes to the tribe from the Miami-Dade Public Library System and has more than 20 years of library experience.

Dukharan succeeds David M. Blackard, the longtime Seminole Tribe employee and library supervisor, who died last summer from complications of cancer at age 69. Blackard had been the tribe’s library supervisor since 2007.

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Damon Scott
Damon is a multimedia journalist for the Seminole Tribune. He has previously been an editor and reporter for digital and print media in Florida and his home state of New Mexico. Send him an email at