Graduation Year


Document Type

Master's Thesis


Master of Science



Program Director

Jennifer Lucko, PhD

First Reader

Katie Lewis, PhD

Second Reader

Jennifer Lucko, PhD


Research has shown that educators of color are essential for students of color to feel a sense of belonging and acceptance in their early developmental stages of education. According to Morgan (2019), “the findings of a recent study supported the idea that assigning teachers of color the same race leads to an increase in positive subjective assessments with regard to behavior and skills” (p.158). Prior research has considered issues that prevent people of color from becoming educators and/or remaining in the field, while also considering the environment and tools needed for educators of color to be successful in their jobs. As Kohli (2018) stated, educators of color may also lack quality training necessary for sustaining a predominantly White career. Teacher education programs, no matter their position for social justice, typically fall short in preparing educators of color for entering what Kohli states as “the hostile racial climate of school, thus putting them at increased risk of being pushed out of teaching” (p. 1). In this qualitative interview study, seven participants of color ranging from age 7 to 75, male and female, with a mix of seven students and one educator of color, discussed their experiences having educators of color. Based on qualitative analysis, findings suggest that, for students, having educators of color may help them see a future in higher education. In addition, students of color described how representation deepened their feelings of being cared for and that they felt more encouraged to challenge themselves. The findings from this study add student voices and perspectives to conversations about the value of representation, meaning students of color working with teachers of color, in schools.

IRB Number