Date of Award


Access Restriction


Degree Name

Doctorate in Education



School or College

School of Education

First Advisor

Yvette Lapayese

Second Advisor

Edmundo E.F. Litton

Third Advisor

Rebecca Stephenson


There has been a significant increase in the number of Students of Color attending Catholic schools in the United States in the last forty years. However, only 17% of the professional staff in Catholic schools nationally are Teachers of Color (with about 9.6% identifying as Latino/a) (McDonald & Schultz, 2020). The racial gap between Students and Teachers of Color is a social justice issue (Berrios, 2016), and yet, research on why Teachers of Color are choosing to teach in Catholic urban schools and the motivating factors that sustain their work in hard-to-staff Catholic schools is limited.

This qualitative research study was conducted using a Critical Race Methodology (CRM) grounded (Solorzano & Yosso, 2002) in two overarching theoretical frameworks: Critical Race Theory (CRT) and Latina/o Critical Race Theory (LatCrit). Critical Race Testimonio was used as a counter-story method to document the experiences of Latino/a Catholic school teachers who served in under-resourced urban Catholic schools (Perez Huber, 2008). This study was guided by three research questions: (a) what factors do Latino/a teachers describe as encouraging them to choose and sustain their urban Catholic school teaching profession; (b) how do Latino/a teachers describe their racialized experiences in urban Catholic schools; and (c) how can urban Catholic schools enhance recruitment and retention policies and practices to diversify their teaching workforce?

This study explored the racialized experiences and factors which motivated, sustained, and contributed to Latino/a Catholic school teachers’ choices to work in under-resourced urban Catholic schools and highlighted the authority of Latino/a teacher epistemology and ontology to understand that if the demographics of Catholic schools continue to shift, the recruitment and retention practices of Latino/a teachers must also change to meet the needs of all students in urban Catholic schools.