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Commissioner's Office


About Commissioner Dennis Olson

Dennis Olson Jr. was reappointed to a second term as Commissioner of the Minnesota Office of Higher Education (OHE) by Governor Tim Walz in November of 2022. Prior to this executive cabinet appointment, he served as the Executive Director of the Minnesota Indian Affairs Council, working closely with with tribal elected leaders, the state legislature, state agencies, and the governor to highlight and address issues important to all Tribal Nations and American Indian communities in Minnesota.

Dennis also served as the Director of the Office of Indian Education for the Minnesota Department of Education, working closely with Tribal Nations, urban American Indian communities, and multiple partner agencies to address issues impacting Indian Education in Minnesota. Before joining state government, Dennis served as Commissioner of Education for the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, and worked nearly 10 years in various capacties for the University of Minnesota Institute on Community Integration, coordinating federally funded grant programs focussing on postsecondary transition for American Indian high school students, students with disabilities, and at-risk youth.  

Dennis, an enrolled citizen of the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities in American Indian Studies, Sociology, and Communications.  He also holds Masters degrees in Liberal Studies (MLS) and Education (M.Ed.) from the University of Minnesota Duluth, both with a focus on Federal Indian policy and American Indian education.      

Executive Assistant: Chris Hendrickson, (651) 259-3901,

Appearance Requests

To invite the commissioner, or another member of the OHE Senior Leadership Team, to your event, program or meeting, please use the Appearance Request Form.

Senior Leadership Team

Winnie Sullivan, Deputy Commissioner (651) 259-3922
Thomas Sanford, Assistant Commissioner for Operations (651) 259-3960
Wendy Robinson, Assistant Commissioner for Programs, Policy, and Grants  (651) 259-3903
Andrew Wold, General Counsel (651) 259-3904
Nekey Oliver, Director of Government Relations (651) 259-3964
LaNesha Bryant, Director of Human Resources (651) 259-3941
Keith Hovis, Director of Communications (651) 259-3902


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