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Washington State University
College of Education

Katherine C. Rodela, Ph.D.

Katherine Rodela smiling at camera

Katherine C. Rodela, Ph.D.

Chair, Department of Educational Leadership and Sport Management
Associate Professor, Educational Leadership
Vancouver Campus, VUB 317
14204 NE Salmon Creek Avenue
Vancouver, WA  98686


Phone: 360-546-9676

Curriculum Vitae
Welcome to Katherine Rodela’s faculty page

I’m a faculty member in the Educational Leadership Program. I teach courses related to equity, social justice leadership, and inclusion of diverse communities, families, and students in K-12 schools, in WSU’s Administrative Credential, Masters, and Doctoral Programs.

My research agenda centers around the concept of leadership for equity and justice. As third-generation Mexican American and first-generation college student, I am committed to being a community-engaged scholar, whose work advances educational equity and culturally responsive education for marginalized communities, particularly low-income communities of color across the educational PK-20 pipeline. My focus on leadership for equity and diversity inspires three lines of qualitative research: (1) diversifying the educational leadership pathways in PK-12 education, (2) developing equity-focused school and district leaders, and (3) uplifting and centering the leadership of marginalized families and communities.

I am a graduate of Stanford University’s Graduate School of Education. I received a BA in Philosophy and History at Seattle University. I am a former Fulbright Scholar and worked on research project studying the civic engagement and leadership impacts of a childhood nutrition program in Peru. Before earning my Ph.D., I taught Spanish and Service Learning at an urban high school in Oregon.

Currently, I am engaged in these two research projects:

Diversifying the educational leadership pathways in PK-12 education:  Using CRT and LatCrit counterstorytelling methods (Solorzano & Yosso, 2002), I study the experiences and pathways of leaders of color across work positions, regions, and cultures. My work in this area first began with research with Latinx leaders and preservice teachers of color, and resulted in several publications. I also received the first George Brain and Gay Selby Faculty Award in Educational Leadership from WSU. This award helped fund continued research on the experiences and administrative pathways of leaders of color across races and cultures in the Pacific Northwest, which began in Fall 2020 and continues to today.

Uplifting and centering the leadership of marginalized families and communities: In various publications, I explore the voices, advocacy, and expertise of parents, families, and communities of color as legitimate, powerful educational leaders who can address systemic injustices in schools and districts. My scholarship in this area includes ethnographic examinations of Latinx immigrant parents’ leadership development and Latinx community advocacy, and critical literature reviews and conceptual work on expanding the boundaries of who counts as “educational leadership” to include youth, parent, family, and community leaders. My research in this strand seeks to support educational administrators to work with (rather than simply for) youth, families and communities in authentic partnerships.

This work also inspired leadership and outreach in the local SW Washington community. In partnership with Diana Avalos Leos, Director and Founder of Latino Leadership Northwest (formerly the Clark County Latino Youth Conference), we established the SW Washington Latino Parent Leadership Institute. We worked with a diverse group of school and parent leaders to offer parent education and leadership workshops to Spanish-speaking parents in the SW Washington and Portland Metro Area. Together with Ms. Avalos Leos, I studied the impacts of this program on Latinx parent engagement and leadership for equity in schools. We successfully ran two sessions of our workshops in Vancouver Public Schools (Fall 2016) and Woodland Public Schools (Spring 2017). Recently we engaged former participants in a study of their families’ experiences and children’s schooling during the COVID-19 pandemic. Informed by our findings, we hope to relaunch in later 2022 so all families feel comfortable attending in-person workshops. For more information about the project, please visit our Facebook Page.

Links to published articles

Note to educators, researchers, and graduate students: Many of the links below require a journal subscription to access the article. If you are a PK-12 educator or unable to access through your library, I’m always happy to share these articles directly. Feel free to email me at or connect via Research Gate!

Rodela, K., & Bertrand, M. (2021). Collective Visioning for Equity: Centering Youth, Family, and Community Leaders in Schoolwide Visioning Processes. Peabody Journal of Education, 96(4), 465-482.

Rodela, K., Rodriguez-Mojica, C., & Cochrun, A.* (2021). ‘You guys are bilingual aren’t you?’ Latinx educational leadership pathways in the New Latinx Diaspora. International Journal of Leadership in Education, 24(1), 84-107. doi:10.1080/13603124.2019.1566577

Rodela, K. & Rodriguez-Mojica, C. (2020). Equity Leadership Informed by Community Cultural Wealth: Counterstories of Latinx School Administrators. Educational Administration Quarterly, 56(2), 289-320. doi:10.1177/0013161X19847513

Rodela, K., Cochrun, A.*, Haines, D.*, & Journey, S.A.* (2020). Tiptoeing Around the Elephant in the Room: Discreet Activism For Social Justice in Conservative School Communities Following the 2016 Presidential Election. Journal of Education Human Resources (formerly Journal of School Public Relations), 38(1), 8-34.

Fernández, E. & Rodela, K. (2020). “Hay poder en numeros”: Understanding the development of a collectivist Latinx parent identity and conscientização amid an anti-immigrant climate. Teachers College Record, 122(8), 1-40.

Rodriguez-Mojica, C., Rodela, K., Ott, C.* (2020). “I didn’t wanna believe it was a race issue”: Student Teaching Experiences of Preservice Teachers of Color. The Urban Review, 52, 435-457. doi:10.1007/s11256-019-00546-x

Rodela, K., & Fernández, E. (2019). A Latina Mother on T.V.: Challenges of Intragroup Advocacy for Equity in a Latinx Community. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 32(10), 1270-1288. doi:10.1080/09518398.2019.1659445

Kruse, S. &, Rodela, K. (2019). When Hate Comes to Campus: Campus Readiness for Conflict, Safety, and Student Voice. Journal of Cases in Educational Leadership, 22(3), 85-97.

Brooks, M.D., & Rodela, K. (2018). Why Am I in Reading Intervention? A Dual-Analysis of Entry and Exit Criteria. The High School Journal, 102(1), 72-93. doi:10.1353/hsj.2018.0020

Rodela, K., & Bertrand, M. (2018). Special Issue Introduction: Rethinking Educational Leadership in the Margins: Youth, Parent, and Community Leadership for Equity and Social Justice. Journal of Research in Leadership Education, 13(1), 3-9.

Bertrand, M., & Rodela, K. (2018). A framework for re-thinking educational leadership in the margins: implications for social justice leadership preparation. Journal of Research on Leadership Education, 13(1), 10-37. [Special Issue: “Rethinking Educational Leadership in the Margins: Youth, Parent, and Community Leadership for Equity and Social Justice”].

Kruse, S., Rodela, K., Huggins, K. (2018). Messy Messages and Making Sense Across Complex Contexts: A Regional Network of Superintendents Confronting Equity. Journal of School Leadership, 28(1), 82-109.

Vossoughi, S. & Rodela, K. (2018). Rewriting class, culture, colonialism, and the “culture of poverty”: Ethnographic work by Eleanor Leacock, 1959-1980. [Special Issue: “Beyond the Culture of Poverty”]. Diaspora, Indigenous, and Minority Education. Advanced online publication. doi:10.1080/15595692.2017.1421534

Rodela, K., & Tobin, J. (2017). On Anna’s Terms: Supporting a Student’s Gender Transition in Elementary School. Journal of Cases in Educational Leadership20(4), 42-57.

Rodela, K. (2016). Undocumented Educational Leadership: The Development of Latina Mothers into Emergent Social Justice Leaders [Special Issue: “Latina/os and a Spirit of Dedication and Commitment Towards the Community]. National FORUM of Applied Educational Research Journal, 29(1&2), 21-33.

Gomez, K., Gomez, L., Rodela, K., Horton, E., Cunningham, J., Ambrocio, R. (2015). Embedding Language Support in Developmental Mathematics Lessons: Exploring the Value of Design as Professional Development for Community College Mathematics Instructors. Journal of Teacher Education, 55(5), 450-465.

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