Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Morgridge College of Education, Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

First Advisor

Kristina Hesbol, Ph.D.


Authentic partnerships in education, Educational justice, Educational leadership, Educational organizing, Equity in education, Parent and student leadership


This qualitative critical case study portraiture examines several racialized scripts found in family engagement, educational leadership, and social justice literature regarding under-resourced parents and students of color as leaders for educational justice. These scripts, or dominant narratives, discuss racially-minoritized parents and students as deficient in character and culture. They also deem that educational leadership for social justice is too complex an issue for these parents and students to have any positive effect. Therefore they are viewed in the literature as being only passively active in their own education. Analyzing a successful and authentic parent and student activist organization that focused on educational justice through a dynamic methodological process called critical case study portraiture, this study asks how these parents and students interrogate such scripts. This study finds that through a process of reflection and action, under-resourced parents and students of color interrogated and countered each of these scripts through their leadership. This study includes a conceptual model called the Vassilaros critical leadership model that combines elements of community cultural wealth, critical race theory/Latinx critical theory, and social justice praxis as operationalized through collective transformative agency. This study suggests that parents and students are powerful actors in the fight to attain educational justice and recommends that practice, policy, and further research should view them as educational leaders who should be on the front lines of the war for equity and justice in education.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Stefanie Iona Gurulé


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

435 p.


Educational leadership, Education, Education policy