Ms. Joyce Dugan

PO Box 593
Cherokee, North Carolina 28719

Appointed by the Governor
July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2017

Appointed by the General Assembly
July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2021


Joyce Conseen Dugan is a member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians in Cherokee, North Carolina. She is a graduate of Western Carolina University, where she received both her BS (1974) and MS (1981) in Education. She began her education career as a teacher's assistant in the Cherokee Central School system and after obtaining her degree was employed as a teacher, progressing on to become Director of Federal Programs, and in 1990 became the Superintendent of the same school system, a post she held for five years. In 1995, she ran for and won the office of Principal Chief of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, the first woman to hold that office and to date, the only woman to hold this office. She held this office for a term of four years, after which she was employed by the tribe's casino enterprise to develop a program for tribal members to assume management of the business, and later became the casino's Director of Public, Government and Community Relations. In 2009, she returned to the Cherokee school system from which she retired in 2011.

In 1997, she received the Distinguished Alumni Award from Western Carolina University, and in the same year was placed on the Honor Roll of Peak Performers from the College of Education and Allied Professions at WCU. In 2006, she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate degree from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill for her efforts towards cultural preservation. She currently serves on the Cherokee Indian Hospital Governing Board, the Development Foundation Board of Directors, the North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching, and the Board of Directors for Mainspring (formerly Land Trust for the Little Tennessee).

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