Marlee S. Bunch
Marlee Bunch is an educator with over 16 years teaching experience. She holds two graduate degrees and is currently working on her Ed.D. from the University of Illinois. She holds a teaching certificate, gifted education certification, Diversity and Equity certificate, and an ESL (English Second Language) certification. Her experiences teaching at the secondary and post-secondary level, have allowed her to write curriculum, mentor teachers, create workshops, tutor, advocate for inclusion, and most importantly mentor students. Her research, teaching, and educational advocacy work seeks to disrupt inequities, advocate for educational reform and illuminate the power of storytelling and history. Her research focuses on the oral histories of Black female educators and communities.
Unlearning the Hush: This study will illustrate the impact the long history of segregation, Brown v. Board of Education, and desegregation efforts had on the teaching experiences of Black, female educators in Hattiesburg, MS, particularly between the years 1954-1971.
The purpose of this study is to examine the ways in which desegregation efforts and Brown v. Board impacted the lives of Black, female educators from 1954-1971 in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. This study explores the lives and stories of these women, examines the historical implications of public-school desegregation in Hattiesburg, and draws connections between history and current day concerns in K-12 schools. This study is significant because it extends our understanding of the oral histories of the Black women, it helps fill in the gaps of the historical record, and it centers the voices and histories of Black women who forged the path for education.
My methodology for this study is an oral history, qualitative inductive study, using the oral histories of participants as primary source. This study centers the voices of the participants and serves as a counter-story to the dominant narrative. Using counter-storytelling, examines how these women’s teaching experiences and oral histories push back on traditional narratives and constructs about race. The site for my study is Hattiesburg, Mississippi (Forrest County) and my participants are Black women who taught pre/post integration in Hattiesburg. My data collection will occur through Zoom and/or telephone interviews to collect and record the oral histories of my participants. Triangulation will occur using not only the oral histories or the Black female educators that I interviewed, but also the oral histories of students who attended these schools, a Black male educator, and a historian.
This dissertation examines the historical implications of these events through the oral histories of the Black women who taught in these very classrooms. By centering their stories and experiences, we can develop a more accurate historic record that represents their voices and guides us in how to best remedy current day concerns in education. This oral evidence will allow us to add to the scant research currently available, build upon the existing research, and ensure that the contributions and advancements that occurred in large part due to the efforts of these women, is recorded for future generations.
Leadership/Diversity and Equity, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
Doctoral candidate (ABD), and degree expected by Dec. 2022
Masters of Science, Emporia State University
Masters of Science. Gifted Education degree and certification.
Masters of Education, DePaul University
Masters of Education. Secondary teaching certification- English and Social Studies. ESL certification. Gifted certification.
Bachelor of Arts, National-Louis University
Bachelor of Arts in English Literature. Minor in psychology.
Skills & Qualities
Though I have learned a lot from being in the professional world of education, many of my skills have been built from research and the interactions with my students. I value the importance of collaboration, life long learning, mentorship, communication, and the importance of listening to the stories and perspectives of others.
Listening & Collaboration
The ability to listen and collaborate are skills that transcend to various work environments and my role in both education and diversity/equity/inclusion.
My compassion for others, makes mentoring an important skill and quality that has been a thread throughout my career. Mentoring students throughout their educational careers is one of the most important accomplishments.
"Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced."