Native American Heritage Month Spotlight Antoinette Cavanaugh

This month, in celebration of Native American Heritage Month, we will be highlighting some of the many remarkable contributors to Indian country. In no way is this list comprehensive or extensive.

Antoinette Cavanaugh, the first Native American in Nevada to become a public-school district superintendent.

Antoinette Harney Cavanaugh is a Native Nevadan, born in Owyhee, Nevada and is a member of the Shoshone-Paiute Tribes of the Duck Valley Indian Reservation. She graduated from Boise State University in 1983, BA, and from the University of Nevada, Reno in 1989 with her MA in Educational Administration and Higher Education.

Antoinette began her career as an educator in 1983 where she taught English, literature and math at Owyhee Combined School and later became a vice-principal. In 1993 she helped to establish the Spring Creek Junior High/High School as a vice-principal. As a new principal, in 1997, Mrs. Cavanaugh was selected to plan, design and open the first middle school in Elko County School District at the Spring Creek Middle School.

In 2002, Antoinette became the Director of Federal and Special Programs for Elko County School District, and in 2003, she was selected as the Superintendent of Schools for Elko County. Antoinette was the first Native American in the history of Nevada to become a public-school district superintendent. She remained the superintendent until 2010 when she retired.   

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