Date of Completion


Embargo Period



teacher leadership, equity, science eduction

Major Advisor

John Settlage

Associate Advisor

Suzanne Wilson

Associate Advisor

Todd Campbell

Associate Advisor

Chrystal Smith

Associate Advisor

Casey Cobb

Field of Study

Curriculum and Instruction


Doctor of Philosophy

Open Access

Open Access


The purpose of this case study is to investigate science teacher leadership for educational equity at the secondary school level during a period of reform. The current reform in science education acknowledges inequity and calls for significant changes in instruction (NRC, 2012). This study is designed to address two research questions: (1) ‘How do participants describe science teacher leaders’ educational practices for equity?’ and (2) ‘How are science teacher leaders’ equitable practices related to organizational structures and social norms within secondary schools?’. Three data sources: interviews, field observations, and artifacts, were collected and analyzed qualitatively. A social justice leadership framework (Theoharis, 2007) allowed for a deep analysis of the ways in which these science teachers are challenging dominant views of teaching content and leading for equity. Of the ten high-leverage equitable leadership practices (Ishimaru & Galloway, 2014), four appeared in the four cases. Engaging in self-reflection and inquiry or dialogue around equitable teaching was present in all cases, whereas holding colleagues responsible for equitable instruction and publicly advocating for socially just policy appeared in three and two cases, respectively. The evidence suggests that science teacher leaders’ educational practices vary with the leadership structures of secondary schools and that advocating for equity exacerbates tensions in interactions with colleagues and administrators. The findings of this study warrant further discussion on how to capture the role and impact teacher leaders have in achieving the vision for science education set forth in the Framework (NRC, 2012).