[View Image] School of Education

Ejana Bennett

President-Elect, VCU Holmes Scholars Program

Program Area: Curriculum, Culture and Change
Projected Completion: May 2020

Ejana Bennett, a VCU SOE 2020 Holmes Scholar. [View Image]


  • Ph.D. (Education:Curriculum, Culture and Change), Expected Graduation May 2022
    Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia
  • M.T. (Elementary Education, endorsement in Special Education), May 2015
    University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia
  • B.A. (Psychology), May 2015
    University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia

Line of Research

My research examines how teacher-critical racial consciousness impacts implementation of culturally relevant practices, student-teacher relationships, student learning outcomes, student development and opportunity gaps which positively address the racial/ethnic student-teacher mismatch.

Research and Scholarship

  • Parkhouse, H., Bennett, E., Pandey, T., Lee, K., Wilson, J. (revise and resubmit, August 2020) Opposition to Culturally Relevant Education Among Practicing Educators: Is CRE a Choice or a Professional Expectation? Educational Researcher.
  • Tichnor-Wagner, A., Bennett, E., Parkhouse, H., & Schcolnik, A. (in preparation) Towards a Cohesive Union? Currents and Cleavages in State Civic Education Policy Discourses.
  • Gómez, R., & Bennett, E. (in preparation). Racial Identity Development toward Transformative Pedagogy. Preparing Antiracist Educators: Efforts, Resources, and Initiatives.
  • Parkhouse, H. & Bennett, E. (2020, December). The Power of Action Research for Developing Culturally Responsive Teaching Practices: A Case Study of Three Secondary Social Studies Teachers. Presentation at the National Council for Social Studies Conference, Washington, DC. (Proposal Accepted)
  • Yingling, T., Lyn, R., Bennett, E., Lambert, A., Hanley, E., Nicolai, K., Venning, C., Rawls, M. (2020, October). Anti-Racist Transdisciplinary Coalition in Higher Education. Presentation at the 17th Annual Metropolitan Educational Research Consortium Conference. Richmond, VA.
  • Bennett, E. (2020, February). The Need for Critical Racial Consciousness in a Colorblind Teaching Force. Presentation at the AACTE Conference, Atlanta GA.
  • Parkhouse, H., Senechal, J., Bennett, E., Gui, J., Lyn, R., Merritt, A., Mann, M., Kenup, A., O’Neal, C., & Macaulay, S. (2019, October). Designing Effective Professional Development to Support Culturally Responsive Teaching. Presentation at the 16th Annual Metropolitan Educational Research Consortium Conference. Richmond, VA.
  • Metropolitan Educational Research Consortium - Research Project: Professional Development for Success in Culturally Diverse Schools
  • Professional Development Designer - Henrico Public Schools, Culturally Responsive Teaching Microcredential
  • Professional Development Facilitator - VCU Summer Learning Institute - Professional Development Title: Racial identity development toward transformative pedagogy


Ejana Bennett is a second-year doctoral student in the School of Education at VCU. She works as a graduate research assistant with the Department of Teaching and Learning. She has practitioner experience as a former elementary school teacher in Richmond Public Schools. She also has experience teaching special education in a charter school in Brooklyn, N.Y. Her research interest includes helping teachers and administrators develop culturally relevant school curriculum, and instructional methods and assessments that reflect student culture and experience. She is interested in implementing research that addresses teacher-critical race consciousness as a means to positively impact the diversity gap amongst teachers and students. She is specifically interested in understanding relationships between White educators and minoritized students in an effort to empower minoritized students to develop critical consciousness. These interests arose from her experience as a teacher, tutor and step coach, and her work to add more culturally relevant experiences in her classrooms.

What does the Holmes Scholars program mean to you?

The VCU Holmes Scholars program means being seen, heard and understood as a historically marginalized student. The VCU Holmes Scholars program fulfills my yearning to be supported and mentored without partaking in what W.E.B. DuBois calls “double consciousness.” I am a part of a supportive network of peers and have access to unique professional experiences that will lead to my overall success in academia. I am surrounded by like-minded doctoral students and mentors who look like me and support me through my educational journey.

Curriculum Vitae


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