Debbie Pushor PhD

My interest in parents’ positioning in relation to the landscape of schools was sparked when my oldest son, Cohen, began school. Although I had been an educator for 15 years at that point in time, and I felt I knew a lot about schools, I was awakened by how marginalized I felt as a parent – how lacking a place and a voice. I realized how much we can learn about schooling when we examine it through the lenses of parents. My research into parents’ positioning began at that time with my doctoral work. It has continued through an inquiry into parent engagement and leadership and an inquiry into parent knowledge. Through my research, I have come to believe it is only when we honor and use parents’ knowledge that we truly engage parents in their children’s schooling.

13 years after that awakening experience, with my kindergarten son now a high school graduate, many schools continue to perpetuate hierarchical structures where professional knowledge is privileged over parent knowledge. While we have so much more research about parents available to us, we have important work yet to do to shift policy and practice and to change school landscapes. I hope this website will help to mobilize and disseminate knowledge toward that end. I hope it will contribute to building relationships among and between all those with an interest in schooling and education. Thank you for visiting! I look forward to our connection!

Biographic Information

My career began with Edmonton Public Schools in Alberta where I worked as a teacher, a consultant, a principal and a central services administrator.  My experiences as a parent of school-aged children caused me to attend to the positioning of parents in relation to schools and prompted the focus of my doctoral work, A Storied Photo Album of Parents’ Positioning and the Landscape of Schools. I graduated from the University of Alberta in 2001 with a PhD in elementary education.  I assumed an academic position at St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia from 2001 to 2004, teaching in the BEd program and the MEd program in educational leadership. I joined the University of Saskatchewan in 2004.  I am currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Curriculum Studies in the College of Education.  I completed a major research project funded by the Dr. Stirling McDowell Foundation for Research into Teaching, which explored, with a team of co-researchers at Princess Alexandra Community School in Saskatoon, how schools can move from practices of parent involvement to practices of parent engagement and leadership.  I am also engaged in research funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada in which I am exploring what parent knowledge is and how it is held and used.  I am a qualitative researcher who uses narrative inquiry as her research methodology.

I am the mother of three sons. Cohen is 17 years old and a recent graduate from grade 12.  Teague and Quinn are 14 years old (yes, twins!) and they are in grade 9.  My partner, Laurie, is Chief of Staff for the Minister of Social Services of the Government of Saskatchewan. Our family dog, Lily, is a black lab who gives them many stories to tell!

I love to run along Saskatoon’s beautiful river valley, to read novels and children’s literature, and to cook.

Debbie Pushor’s CV