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Niki Sandoval

Niki Sandoval, Ph.D., is the first descendant of the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians to earn a doctorate in education. As education director for the tribe, Niki works in partnership with tribal government leaders to refine education policies and strategic educational investments including school readiness, educational attainment, and career transitions. Tribal investments in education have resulted in improved academic achievement and increased graduation rates for Chumash students.

In addition to her work for the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians, Niki is a lecturer in the Education Department at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB). In this role, she engages undergraduate students in the examination of equity issues in education. Several of her students have gone on to pursue careers in teaching, school psychology, and guidance counseling. Previously, Niki served as assistant director for community services at Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI), where she directed professional development and technical assistance for Native Americans in museum practice.

Niki currently serves as a human services commissioner for the City of Lompoc; is a trustee for the UCSB Alumni Association; and was appointed to the California State Board of Education in January 2013 by Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr. She holds a doctorate in education from UCSB, a master’s degree in museum studies from George Washington University, and a bachelor’s degree in public relations from Pepperdine University.
North County Headquarters:  (805) 346-6123  |   2625 S. Miller Street, Suite 101, Santa Maria, CA 93455
South County Headquarters:  (805) 963-1873  |  1111 Chapala Street, Suite 200, Santa Barbara, CA 93101