Author ORCID Identifier

Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Ross Collin

Second Advisor

Hillary Parkhouse

Third Advisor

Kurt Stemhagen

Fourth Advisor

Adai Tefera


This study sought to develop an understanding of secondary teachers’ perceptions of liberatory (justice-oriented) professional development at three school sites in a single school district. As participants shared their perceptions, three significant themes emerged; they described 1) facing contextual constraints that limited their agency 2) desiring to be reframed as knowledge producers, yet 3) struggling to envision how their agency could support their liberation. These key findings led to an emergent theory of the Cycle of Professional Development Stagnation, a cycle involving barriers that perpetuate the framing of teachers as passive recipients of knowledge. As evidenced in this qualitative inquiry, this cycle serves as a system that can oppress secondary educators as it relates to their agency and their means for developing greater criticality. The findings from this study indicate the need for further research in the field as they highlight approaches to PD that work to discourage a more justice-oriented teacher workforce and therefore may prevent cultivation of more equitable learning environments for students.


© Christine C. Moore

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VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission