Date of Award

Spring 3-26-2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Ed.D. Transformational Teaching and Learning


Secondary Education

First Advisor

Dr. Amber Jean-Marie Pabon, PhD

Second Advisor

Dr. Kathleen Stanfa, PhD

Third Advisor

Dr. Amy Pfeiler-Wunder, PhD


The Obama's unveiled their official portraits for the National Portrait Gallery in 2018, forever changing the presidential tone by being the first portraits of Black Americans in these roles but also because they selected two Black artists to depict them, Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald. As a White woman, secondary school art educator of diverse students, I witnessed this event as a significant moment in time. Discussing what was immediately visible: portraiture, compositional formats, and use of pattern, but I was unsure how to connect the layered meanings of each portrait. As a veteran teacher, I had implemented different curricula yet had questioned what and how I taught influenced by my White identity. Ongoing growth needed to continue around social justice work and inequities by examining how identity intertwined with curriculum and pedagogy. This led to a qualitative inquiry of my curriculum choices and pedagogical practices to (a) document curriculum choices and pedagogical practices, and (b) analyze this data to identify affordances, limitations, and tensions. The study pulled from postmodernism augmented by critical art pedagogy, critical social justice, and critical whiteness. The self-study, in combination with an arts-based methodology, focused on Titus Kaphar, a contemporary artist who addressed racial inequities in their art. Interweaving self-study reflections with collages facilitated unpacking layers of my identity through vulnerability and listening to what was spoken as much as to what was unsaid. Across multiple rounds of coding, three intersections emerged in response to the research questions: identity/curriculum, identity/practice, and identity/artmaking. Learning how my White identity informed each intersection proffered a lens on biases and colorblindness. This study served to remind me that as I continue to challenge the presence of my Whiteness, my biases, and my colorblindness with critical humility –– it is a journey, not a destination.



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