Date of Award


Degree Name

EdD Doctor of Education

Dissertation Committee

Mary Jo Abascal-Hildebrand, EdD, Director; Raymond Latta, PhD; Johanna S. Hunsaker, PhD


Aboriginal communities, Cross-case analysis, culture, High Arctic, Leadership studies, multi-case study, Northwest Territories (Canada), reflection, school administration, teachers, women


This study examines the stories of six women educators who were called to teach in remote Aboriginal communities in the Northwest Territories, Canada, from 1970 to 1985. Placed within a historical context, I set out to understand what called each educator to teach in a cultural context so different from her own in Canada's Arctic. In order to arrive at a deeper, more intrinsic understanding of her career decisions, I explored each educators calling through three, increasingly deeper levels of reflection. In Reflections, as “in an instance of reflecting,” I explored each participant's call to teach, specifically her calling to teach within another cultural context in Aboriginal communities in the High Arctic. Their explicit stories revealed the challenges each faced in teaching within another culture which embraced differing values about life and the importance of education. Each tells of her fears, failures, triumphs, and passions experienced during her years in classrooms in the Arctic. In Reflections of Reflections, as in “An effect produced by an influence,” the educators considered why they had stepped out of the classroom to enter the world of administration. Through administration, each disclosed stories of leadership and influence: assisting novice teachers, buoying up disheartened administrators and mid-career teachers, and becoming part of the greater educational plan for the future of education in the Northwest Territories. Then in Reflections of Reflections of Reflections, as “A transformation that involves reflection in more than one axis…,” each presented stories revealing the even deeper, more philosophical view of her life's work through calling by peering even more intimately into the looking glass of her past. Each felt transformed through and by her calling as educator in the High Arctic, becoming one with people of differing cultural backgrounds and beliefs. Each also feels she has given something back—she has made a difference in the lives of others within the greater educational community of the North. Using a cross-case analysis as yet another angle of reflection from which to view the stories individually and collectively as “Something produced by reflecting,” I found further insights which suggested what the Department of Education could do today to support and renew its most precious resource—its educators.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access