Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor/Committee Member

Dr. Julie Antilla

Second Advisor/Committee Member

Dr. Nyardzo Mvududu

Third Advisor/Committee Member

Dr. John Bond


restorative justice practices, implementation, transformative learning theory, creating teacher buy-in, critical discourse, administrators' experiences


In this paper, transformative learning theory and restorative justice practices, as well as the empirical research done to link theory to practice, are explored. As Mezirow (2018) stated, transformative learning is “the process by which we transform problematic frames of reference (mindsets, habits of mind, meaning perspectives)—sets of assumption and expectation—to make them more inclusive, . . . open, reflective and emotionally able to change” (p. 116). In other words, people’s life experiences help shape their opinions and worldviews, and most people are resistant to change these ideas the more solidly they are planted in one’s minds as being correct. However, due to the reality of classrooms today coupled with recent legislation regarding school suspensions, adults within schools are being required to transform their ideas about student behavior, and more specifically, “misbehavior,” as well as the appropriate response to these behaviors. One shift occurring locally as well as internationally is from exclusionary discipline practices to restorative justice practices. This shift, like many shifts, can prove to be challenging; therefore, this study focuses on the implementation of restorative justice practices in schools. Specifically, this study seeks to understand the following questions: 1) How do school administrators implement restorative justice practices? 2) How do administrators create buy-in by staff for adopting restorative justice practices? 3) What transformative experiences do staff undergo in the shift from exclusionary to restorative practices? This study consists of semi-structured interviews of five administrators who have implemented restorative justice practices in their schools. Additionally, in the years since the intentional implementation of restorative justice practices, schools are conducting and publishing impact studies. Those studies, focusing on the implementation process, are summarized in Chapter 2.