Date of Award


Degree Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (Ed.D.)




A dissertation in the Isabelle Farrington College of Education and Human Development presented to the faculty of Sacred Heart University in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Education.

Committee Chair

T. Lee Morgan, Ph.D.

2nd Reader

Suzanne Marmo, Ph.D.

3rd Reader

K. Kayon Morgan, Ph.D.


While research has indicated that teachers of color need to be better supported by building and district administrators to retain higher numbers, the literature lacks the best practices for targeted support specifically for teachers of color. This Improvement Science Dissertation in Practice utilizes a qualitative participatory social justice design to examine the efficacy of affinity groups as a viable practice to support and retain teachers of color. Through a Critical Race Theory (CRT) framework, this study also explores the reflections of teachers of color at a Pre-k – Grade 5 school in a large urban district in a Northeastern state. The teachers’ accounts expose (1) their personal experiences with micro and macro aggressions these teachers endured from administrators and colleagues, (2) the specific type of support they are yearning for, and (3) the benefits they experienced from participating in the affinity group. Through semi-structured focus groups and weekly reflections, the study results revealed that teachers of color required targeted support, including a safe space, validation, cultural understanding, and mentorship. Once the establishment of the pillars occur, teachers of color gain internal empowerment, turning into empowerment for advocacy. The combination of support and the desire for advocacy motivates teachers of color to desire to stay in the education profession. Additionally, the study presents recommendations to schools and districts on how to implement affinity groups within their organizations and navigate antagonism.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.



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