Graduation Date


Document Type

Master's Thesis


Master of Science



Program Director

Jennifer Lucko, PhD

First Reader

Jennifer Lucko, PhD

Second Reader

Matthew Davis, PhD


The iterative process of identity building that educators experience in the broader expanse of their lives directly impacts their pedagogical decisions and preferences. In addition, educators' relationship to place can be a significant factor in curriculum design in how they make connections between the classroom and the spaces their lives inhabit. A review of the literature looks at limits to the current educational system, transformative practices being implemented, as well as how natural and human systems function in an educational context. Qualitative research was conducted using phenomenological interviews to better understand the multiple factors that influence teacher identity. Teacher identities extend beyond the role they play in the classroom to encompass the larger breadth of their lives, and include such influences as prior careers, motherhood, mentors, and the places they have inhabited. The concept of a school being an example of a human system is explored. Findings include the existence of intersectional identities, influence of place, both as location and in relation to others, on identity formation, and the significance of human systems towards sustainable educational reform.

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