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Author ORCID Identifier



Open Access Dissertation

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Degree Program

Education (also CAGS)

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded


First Advisor

Kysa Nygreen

Second Advisor

Sangeeta Kamat

Third Advisor

Claudio Moreira

Subject Categories

Teacher Education and Professional Development


For the first time in the US, the majority of public school students are students of color in addition to being culturally and linguistically diverse (National Center for Education Statistics, 2013). Yet many teacher educators and teachers do not reflect this diversity (U.S. Dept. of Education, 2013). The overwhelming majority of teacher educators and teachers in the U.S. continue to be mono-racial, mono-linguistic, mono-cultural, and of a middle-class background; a workforce that misrepresents the demographics of this nation (Ladson- Billings, 2005). Students deserve educational settings that are a reflection of society’s diversity and also them. Therefore, diversifying the teacher workforce is imperative and urgent. One way to impact teacher diversity and the educational experiences of all students is through teacher education. Teacher educators are uniquely positioned in the field of education. They can have influence over recruitment, retention, curriculum, pre-service program experiences, mentoring, school and university partnerships, and policy to name a few. This dissertation explores the work and experiences of teacher educators—those who employ equity-centered, social justice oriented, race conscious and critical pedagogy in their teaching, and who also identify as People of Color. I refer to these individuals as Social Justice Teacher Educators of Color (SJTEC). I contend that SJTECs offer an important perspective from which to view the field and practice of teacher education. Using Critical Race Theory (CRT) as a theoretical framework, I explore the lived experiences, narratives, and counter-narratives of SJTEC. I use qualitative interview methods and semi-structured interviews with six SJTECs nation-wide.

The findings suggest that SJTEC labor in institutional spaces that espouse missions of social justice teacher education, but sometimes fall short. They work in predominately White colleges and universities with predominately White preservice teachers, which can make their work even more challenging. Participants also stress the importance of a diverse teacher workforce and critical education, while illuminating the challenges to making this vision a reality. They describe how they implement Social Justice Teacher Education in their classrooms despite these challenges, and describe their motivations for doing this work. Additional implications, limitations, and suggestions for future research are also discussed.