Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Morgridge College of Education, Teaching and Learning Sciences, Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

Nicholas J. Cutforth, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Annemarie Vacarro

Third Advisor

Paul Michalec


Heuristic methodology, Lesbian teachers, Gay teachers, Bisexual teachers, Poetic transcription, Queer teachers, Queer theory, Teacher narratives


The purpose of this study was to portray the experiences of lesbian, gay, and bisexual educators in PK-12 schools in the State of Colorado. This aim emerged from my own personal experiences, previous research, and the current status of state and federal laws. This research focused on the experiences of 15 lesbian, gay, bisexual and allied identified teachers, including myself.

This study focused on a primary research question: What are the experiences of lesbian, gay, and bisexual PK-12 educators as they manage their sexual orientation identities within a teaching role?

Heuristics was the qualitative methodology best suited to address this question. Heuristics is a process, which combines personal passions and inquiry to illuminate larger universal significance. For this study, I used a three interview protocol, extensive journaling and member checking. There are six distinct phases of heuristics in order to maintain methodological integrity. The final phase was creative synthesis where I used poetic transcription to capture the experiences of my participants.

In addition to making critical decisions around the heuristics methodology, my theoretical framework of Queer Theory, challenged me to explore varying dimensions of the research study, my personal journey, and those of the participants. Queer Theory is about de-centering, fluidity, and a wider view into identities, both marginalized and mainstream. This framework was central to grappling with the data and information that did not mirror my own experience or political stance regarding being "out" in the classroom.

This study is a step in beginning to uncover the components of many lesbian, gay, and bisexual educators, as each poem further adds to the shallow body of existing literature. During the research process seven themes emerged: experience, personality, philosophy, isolation vs. support, non-negotiables, sense of self, and navigations. Using the seven themes as a guide, the reader can begin to appreciate the complexities and nuances of how one manages sexual orientation in a teaching role. This guide will be useful to various stakeholders, including state and federal policymakers, administrators, and teachers as they try to better inform their practices and create inclusive environments in schools.

Publication Statement

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

Rights Holder

Megan Suzanne Kennedy


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

298 p.


Curriculum development