Bernard Leonard: May 13, 1960 – November 20, 2015
Every summer, CIAN hosts amazing teachers from around the country in Research Experience for Teachers (RET) programs, and each year they return to their schools to inspire and excite their students about Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM). We have had many RET teachers who excel as summer researchers and teachers, setting an example of superior work ethic and devotion to excellence; Bernard Leonard was one of these. A role model to his fellow teachers and all who knew him, Bernard participated in the Research in Optics for K-14 Educators and Teachers (ROKET) program during the summer of 2014, at the University of Arizona. Sadly, after bravely fighting cancer, Bernard passed away on November 20, 2015.
Bernard was an honorable husband and father of two children. He taught children on Arizona’s Hopi reservation, and although some of us knew him only shortly, it was obvious that he was proud of his heritage and his roles as husband, father, and teacher. He was kind, humorous, and giving.
On behalf of the Center for Integrated Access Networks and the 2014 fellow ROKET participants, our thoughts and condolences are with Bernard’s family.
Thank you for your example, Bernard. It will not be forgotten.
Words from fellow teachers and ROKET participants:
“Bernard Leonard, a true Diné man and a friend of many, was an educator participant in the Summer of 2014 CIAN-ROKET STEM opportunity at the University of Arizona. Bernard may have lost his battle to cancer, but his fight of educating indigenous students in promoting the sciences remains. He was well loved by those of his family and friends across the Navajo Nation and especially by the community and families of the Hopi Tribe as he gave his all in educating students who entered his class over the years. It is with honor and gratitude to have had the opportunity to have met Bernard and to call him friend.”
“Bernard was a dedicated teacher who wanted to bring more to his tribe and help the students to reach… higher academic standards by participating in scientific research and different activities to bring more ideas of engaging Native American students to STEM and learning. He will be missed and hopefully other teachers from his area would follow in his foot steps to learn to engage Native American students.”
“When talking to Bernard, I was always reminded that I was talking to a true leader; a Father, husband, teacher, and Native American role model. He did it all and made it seem possible. Bernard inspired me to take value in my teaching and to follow the path that feels right.”