Susan Best

 Gifted & Talented Coordinator

I am the proud daughter of Hubert Edwards [Okanagan] and Bertha (Michel) Matt [Okanagan/Lakes].  My paternal grandparents are Dan and Cecilia (Verdan) Edwards, and maternal grandparents are Albert ‘Babe’ and Adeline (Joseph) Michel.  As a youth all of my family supported and encouraged my art skills while at St. Mary’s Mission.  I attended the last two years of high school at the Institute of American Indian Arts, in Santa Fe, NM; graduating in 1973.  I attended Gonzaga University from 1974 to 1976, until I began my life with my spouse Dennis E. Best.  We have two children Devin and Danyal.  We have two rough and tough grandsons Nathan Dennis Best [4] and Raimond Duane Best-Cage [6]. 

My ‘passions’ are art and creative writing.  I love to read, and I am re-starting my book collection, and oil-lamp collection.

In the 80’s I worked as a para-pro and dorm staff at PSIS, as I was completing my college courses in Education.  I graduated from Heritage College in 1987 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Education.  I earned my Masters’ Degree in Professional Development from Heritage College in 1994. 

In 1987 I chose to work at Paschal Sherman Indian School as a teacher.  A dream I had since a former student at St. Mary’s Mission.  My first year of teaching was as a Reading Teacher for grades 4th through 8th, and with 6th grade as my homeroom.  I continue to love my job as a teacher here at PSIS, and hope to work here until I retire. 

My hope for PSIS is that our school will grow into a full high school, offering both high school diplomas and/or vocational/technical degrees for post-graduate students.  I have hope that our school vision statement will stand true over time and I dream of the time our native language will be shared among staff, students, parents, and community members.


Rebecca Ortuno

My past employment at PSIS, 6 plus years which include residential dorm staff, home liaison/recruiter, foster grandparent program, SPED Department para and currently G/T paraprofessional.

I have studied nursing, social work, accounting, student leadership & student council at both Wenatchee Valley college and Salish Kootenai College in Pablo Montana, attended St. Mary’s Mission, and Chemawa Indian School in Salem Oregon.

My professional background includes Nursing , Accounting- Data Entry, Revenue auditor, accounts payable-Teacher aide, Home Liaison/recruiter, Hotel Hospitality training, Owner of Business-recycling

In my free time, I enjoy cooking, sewing, decorating, making traditional regalia, sports-basketball, softball, going to pow-wows, and stick game, teaching students

My family: Loved the teaching from Grandmother “Christine Williams”, Love all my 4 children, and 14 grandchildren, and my son who I miss very much “Christopher Lee”. Enjoy family gatherings and celebrating birthdays, holidays with my children and grandchildren

Because I attended St. Mary’s Mission from 1968-1972-graduated, then attended Chemawa Indian School from 1972-1976, attended WVC, and SKC in Montana, and WVC again. I feel that I grew up in kind of environment helps me relate to these students and I have a better understanding of them.

My hopes and dreams are to keep teaching students. To live and enjoy Life, love myself, and nature the surroundings, and most of all my children/grandchildren. Be Happy.