Posted: November 8, 2005

Contact: Doug Anderson,, 651-201-1426

After more than 40 years of educational leadership, Will Antell, a member of the White Earth Band of Anishinabe Indians in Minnesota and a trustee of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities, has been honored with a lifetime achievement award from the National Indian Education Association.

Antell received the award at the association's 36th annual convention held recently in Denver. He was selected because he helped found the organization in 1969 and served as the group's first president.

"We needed our own voice at the national level," he said, in explaining why he helped found the group. "Improving educational opportunities for American Indians, Alaska natives and native Hawaiians has been a lifelong passion of mine. I'm grateful for this award and the support I've received from so many people."

"Dr. Antell continues to make valuable contributions to the organization and on behalf of Native Americans, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiian students," said Lillian A. Sparks, the association's executive director.

The organization now has 3,000 members and represents Alaska Natives, American Indians and Native Hawaiians. This is only the third time this award has been given.

Antell has spent 38 years in public education including 20 years in the Minnesota Department of Education. While at the department, he served nine years as the assistant commissioner of education.

He also worked at the state and national level in setting educational policy for American Indian education. He was appointed by Presidents Nixon and Ford to the National Advisory Council on Indian Education, a group of 15 American Indians and Native Alaskans that advised the President and United State Congress on education policy for American Indians. He continued in that position during President Carter's administration.

A former Bush Fellow and faculty member at the University of Minnesota and Harvard University, he has a bachelor of science degree from Bemidji State University, a master of science degree from Minnesota State University, Mankato, and a doctorate in education from the University of Minnesota.

In 2000, Antell was appointed by Gov. Jesse Ventura to the Board of Trustees for a six-year term expiring June 30, 2006.