Date Approved


Embargo Period


Document Type


Degree Name

EdD Educational Leadership (Doctor of Education)


Educational Services and Leadership


College of Education


Walpole, MaryBeth

Committee Member 1

Johnson, Ane Turner

Committee Member 2

Sarruda, James


education, heteronormative, LGBTQ identity development, queer, queer teacher identity development, teaching


Gay teachers; Private schools


Gender and Sexuality | Teacher Education and Professional Development


In recent years the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Queer (Queer) community has experienced unprecedented acceptance in U.S. culture. Yet, education, historically slow to change (Fullan & Miles, 1992), continues in many states to promote a heteronormative culture that does not recognize nor promote equity for the queer community that exists within their schools (Barrett & Bound, 2015).

The purpose of this qualitative phenomenological heuristic inquiry was to explore my experience, and those of eleven other queer out independent school educators, to understand how we makes sense of, and navigate, the heteronormative, traditionally male-dominated, independent school environment. This study used in-depth interviews to develop an understanding for a specific set of teachers, queer independent school educators, of their experiences in navigating the process of revealing their identities, coming out, within their educational institutions.

This study used heuristic inquiry, as developed by Moustakas (1990), as a research framework while relying upon the conceptual identity frameworks of Cass (1984), Troiden (1988), and Jackson (2007) to explore the experience of being out and queer, the navigation of the personal and professional identities we all posses as teachers.