The Ernst and Sara Lane Volgenau College of Education at Morehead State University has developed an unexpected partnership with a tribal school in Waubay, South Dakota, which has resulted in a mutually beneficial relationship for students at both institutions.

Enemy Swim Day School, a P-8 school, is a Dakota tribal school where faculty and staff integrate Dakota language and culture into the curriculum and school environment. The school mistakenly sent a flyer to MSU (instead of Minnesota State University in Moorhead, Minnesota) seeking to partner with colleges to send student teachers to the school.

“It was the spring of 2021, and many schools were closed to student observers. As a tribal school, I thought this school could provide a unique opportunity for our students to engage with diverse students in a virtual environment,” said Dr. Kimberly Nettleton, Director of Quality Assurance and accreditation (QUAA) for the Volgenau College of Education. and Associate Professor of Education. “The more I spoke to the principal and superintendent, the more I realized what a unique opportunity this could be for our candidates and the students of South Dakota.”

Three students completed part or all of their spring teaching semester during the 2022 spring semester.

Lola MeyersKatie Fraley (Class of 2022) and Lola Meyers (Class of 2022) went to The Enemy Swim Day School for a student teaching internship during their last eight weeks of the semester. Fraley is from Sandy Hook and Meyers is from Pikeville. Both graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Learning Behavioral Disorders and Elementary Education.

In January, Trey Martin (Class of 2022) arrived at the school and spent his entire spring semester there. Martin is from Mt. Sterling and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English Education, Grades 8-12. He said the hands-on experience has been invaluable. He plans to sign a contract to teach at Tiospa Zina High School in Sisseton, South Dakota during the 2022-23 school year.

“I had more experiences here in the first week than most people after several years of teaching,” he said.

Enemy Swim Day School provided Volgenau College of Education faculty members with information about opportunities to partner with the school. Dr. Gera Nelson, associate professor of education, hopes her students will work with Enemy Swim’s English Language Arts (ELA) students in the fall. Drama instructor Octavia Biggs-Fleck, director of the traveling theater company The Little Company, worked with Enemy Swim students when they came to MSU on their eighth grade trip. It was a partnership that no school expected, but which led to unexpected opportunities.

“It’s surprising that a flyer sent to Morehead State University in Kentucky instead of Moorhead in Minnesota could have such far-reaching consequences,” Nettleton said.

To learn more about MSU’s Ernst and Sara Lane Volgenau College of Education and its programs, call 606-783-2162 or visit

Photos: MSU Volgenau College of Education alumni Trey Martin (Class of 2022, top right) and Lola Meyers (Class of 2022, bottom left pictured with students) wrap up teaching at Enemy Swim Day School, a Dakota tribal school in South Dakota.