Date of Award


Access Restriction


Degree Name

Doctorate in Education



School or College

School of Education

First Advisor

Elizabeth Reilly

Second Advisor

Curtiss Rooks

Third Advisor

Rita Kohil


Typical identity stereotypes for South Asian Americans, such as the model minority myth, do not convincingly support a trajectory into K–12 education, as South Asian Americans are not readily seen as agents for social change. This qualitative study explored how South Asian American educators’ understanding of their ethnic and racial identity interplayed with their practice as critically conscious educators for social justice. Eleven participants who self-identified as social-justice-oriented were interviewed to share their experiences as South Asian American educators. Their responses revealed South Asian American educators develop their ethnic identity consciousness in complex ways, demonstrating self-awareness and subsequently draw upon their ethnic attachment and racialized experiences to perform as critically conscious educators, developing strong relationships with students from marginalized backgrounds and advancing equity in their schools. The participants’ positionalities reveal that South Asian Americans have tremendous potential as educators for social justice in education.