Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


College of Education and Human Services


Teacher Education and Teacher Development

Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Monica Taylor

Committee Member

Emily J. Klein

Committee Member

Jeremy N. Price


This study examines the collaboration of fifteen high school educators who came together to dialogue addressing patriarchy, sexism, homophobia, and heteronormativity in our practices, curriculum, classrooms, and school. Additionally, this practitioner action research study examines my attempt to queer and disrupt feminist facilitation. The study was situated in a competitive and economically privileged school district in the Northeast with district-wide goal dedicated to cultural diversity and anti-biased language. Using Paulo Freire’s (1970/2004) model of culture circles and Souto-Manning’s (2010) critical cycle, the group transformed a traditional professional learning community (PLC) into a feminist, queer, and activist community. The group engaged in the vulnerable process of community building through sharing personal experiences, concerns, fears, and questions addressing topics, such as sexual assault in texts, power imbalances in classroom discussions, homophobic remarks made by students, sexism printed in the school newspaper, and clashes in response to social justice events with administration. The findings of this study support the idea that teacher-led community spaces provide critical opportunities for self-reflection, examination of oppressions, and collaborative action and activism.

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