Date of Award

December 2012

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Urban Education

First Advisor

Thandeka Chapman

Second Advisor

Rene Antrop-González

Committee Members

Tania Mertzman Habeck, Fred Eckman, Barbara Bales


Bilingual Education, Dual Language, Education Reform, English Language Learner, Exemplary Teachers, Second Language Learner


The purpose of this qualitative study is to examine the experiences of four teachers nominated for their reputations as highly effective educators of English language learners. The intent is to explore how the teachers respond and react to changes and expectations of education policy and investigate how daily decision-making processes are affected. Three themes emerged from the data that suggest the participants have a cognizance of their own expertise, recognize and react to discriminatory action, and make decisions to take active roles to work toward change. Based on their expertise and ability to recognize inequities, the teachers made decisions to take action. The four action behaviors include (a) educating colleagues, (b) engaging in compromise, (c) isolating from group practice, and (d) accepting compliance. A model of change and preservation is offered as a basis for critical conversations regarding sustainability of programming, needs for informed leadership, and power relationships that affect English language learners.