Navajo Nation program director, school board member arrested

Chrispin Wallace apprehended on warrant for 2011 DWI conviction

Joshua Kellogg
Farmington Daily Times
  • Wallace has three DWI convictions in New Mexico.
  • The election code bans people from holding a school board seat if convicted of a crime involving alcohol.
  • The Department of Diné Education plans to file a complaint regarding Wallace to the Election Administration.
Chrispin Wallace


FARMINGTON — The director of the Navajo School Clothing Program who is also a board member of a tribally controlled school could be removed from office after he was arrested last week on a warrant related to a 2011 driving under the influence conviction. 

Chrispin Wallace, 49, was arrested Friday evening at the Courtyard by Marriott by officers for the Farmington Police Department on a warrant for failing to comply with his probation related to a 2011 DWI conviction, according to court documents and police spokeswoman Georgette Allen.

He was being held this afternoon at the San Juan County Adult Detention Center on a no-bond hold. 

A warrant was issued for Wallace's arrest on March 15, 2011, in Farmington Municipal Court for failing to comply with his probation as part of a plea agreement on a Dec. 17, 2009, DWI arrest, according to court documents and records.

The 2011 DWI conviction was the third for Wallace in New Mexico.

He pleaded guilty to a DWI charge in 1995 and pleaded no contest to a DWI charge in 2005, according to court records and documents.

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Wallace is also currently a board member for the Nazlini Community School Inc. in Ganado, Ariz.

He was one of three board members elected during the November 2016 Navajo Nation general election, according to the Navajo Election Administration websites.

Terrelene Massey, executive director of the Navajo Division of Social Services, declined comment.

The Nazlini Community School did not respond to requests for comment.

The Navajo School Clothing Program provides clothing for Navajo children enrolled in school and those experiencing a crisis.

Matthew Tso, legislative analyst for the Department of Diné Education, said the department is aware of Wallace's DWI convictions.

The department plans to file a complaint with the Navajo Election Administration on Wednesday to possibly remove Wallace from the school board and disqualify him as a candidate in future school board elections, Tso said.

The election code has a lifetime ban on running for a board position at a tribally controlled school for any person convicted of any crimes involving alcohol, including DWI.

Tso said the Nazlini Community School board is another example of a tribally controlled school board not complying with the required background checks.

School employees and board members of all tribally controlled schools on the Navajo Nation are required to undergo criminal background checks. 

Two members of the Shiprock Associated Schools Inc. Board of Educationwere removed from office and one member resigned for not disclosing DWI convictions on their election paperwork.

Joshua Kellogg covers crime, courts and social issues for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627.