College of Menominee Nation announces additions to board of directors

The College of Menominee Nation (CMN) recently held its annual election of officers, resulting in the reappointment of Sara LaBarge as vice chair and the appointment of Tina Tourtillott to fill the open seat vacated by Marcus Denny.

LaBarge is a continuing member of the board, originally appointed in 2020. She has been appointed for another seven years, through the 2031 election.

Tourtillott will be a member until 2026.

LaBarge is an enrolled member of the Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin (MITW) and the director of Strategic Partnerships at Native Forward Scholars Fund, the largest direct scholarship provider to Native students in the United States.

Joining Native Forward in 2015, she has held roles of increasing responsibility with a focus on programs, operations, marketing, development, strategy and growth. Prior to joining Native Forward, she served as an academic adviser at CMN for seven years. LaBarge has served Native students in higher education for nearly two decades. She holds a bachelor of arts degree in sociology from St. Norbert College in De Pere and a master of science in education – higher education administration from University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.

She enjoys spending time with her family, fishing, reading and golfing.

Tourtillott is an enrolled member of the MITW. She holds a master of business administration with an emphasis in Native American leadership from Southeastern Oklahoma State University (2024), a master of science degree in personal financial planning from Kansas State University (2018) and both a bachelor of science degree in business administration and an associate of arts degree in liberal arts from Haskell Indian Nations University (2011 and 2009, respectively).

Tourtillott has been an instructor at Haskell Indian Nations University (HINU) since 2019, teaching courses such as Haskell seminar, tribal resources and economic development, tribal/federal government relations and introduction to tribal management. Her teaching experience is complemented by her role as an academic adviser at the university since 2012.

Before her current teaching position, Tourtillott held various roles at HINU, including financial aid specialist (2018-21), retention technician (2016-18) and member of the registrar’s office staff (2012-16). Her earlier career experiences include positions at the American Indian Records Repository, Douglas County, Kansas, NCS Pearson and Native organizations such as the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin and Menominee Nation Casino.

She is actively involved in various academic committees and has been acknowledged for her contributions. In 2024, she received the Outstanding Service to the University and Community Award from HINU. She also volunteers on the eXplore Lawrence Governing Board and the Community Emergency Response Team of Douglas County, Kansas.

Outside of her work life, Tourtillott enjoys spending time with her family, being outdoors and playing coed softball.