a photo of Irene H. Yoon
  • Associate Professor, Educational Leadership&Policy
  • Faculty Research Associate, Utah Education Policy Center

Research Summary

My research is concerned with dignity and belonging for students (and teachers) in diverse schools. I study how leadership facilitates practices and structures for equitable and inclusive learning environments. Specifically, I focus on intersections of race, class, gender and sexuality, and dis/ability in these systems. I have explored (de)humanizing practices and systems in professional learning, school reform, and inclusion for students with disabilities and complex trauma.


  • Ph.D., Educational Leadership & Policy Studies, University of Washington
  • B.A., English, Williams College


Irene H. Yoon, Ph.D., is an associate professor of Educational Leadership & Policy in the College of Education. Starting from the point of radical love and critical hope, her research is concerned with leadership and teaching in school organizations that contribute to equity, justice, and empowering learning environments for teachers and young people. She engages in research that is geared toward recognizing and dismantling oppression in schools, and imagining and building better systems around and for marginalized students. In particular, she is interested in dignity and belonging across the interactions of race, class, gender and sexuality, and disability, in both teacher learning and schoolwide cultural practices and structures. Her research utilizes critical and poststructural theories alongside sociocultural theories of learning and development. She and her co-authors have published in American Educational Research Journal, Race Ethnicity and EducationTeachers College Record, Journal of Educational Administration, the International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, Educational Studies, Berkeley Review of Education, Journal of Cases in Educational Leadership, Frontiers in Education--Leadership in Education, Journal of Educational Administration, Educational Management Administration and Leadership, and in edited books. 

Dr. Yoon teaches courses on instructional leadership; professional learning and school reform; leadership and social justice in education systems; disability studies; epistemologies and research paradigms; and qualitative research methods, including a specialization on discourse analysis. She was awarded the University of Utah Early Career Teaching Award (2019) and the College of Education Outstanding Teaching Award (2019).

Previously, at the Utah Education Policy Center (UEPC), Irene was the project lead for external School Support Teams to schools in Title I program improvement. In this role, she provided technical assistance and leadership coaching on school improvement to school administrators and teacher leaders (such as instructional coaches). Irene also served as qualitative researcher for the UEPC’s evaluation projects and program improvement efforts. She started her career managing policy-practitioner-university partnerships for the National Commission on Teaching and America's Future in Washington, DC, and has nearly two decades of experience providing technical assistance and leadership support to policymakers and system leaders in education. 

Irene is a runner and foodie, as well as an active traveler and novel-devourer. She earned her Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from the University of Washington Seattle, and has a B.A. in English from Williams College. Irene hails from the great state of New Jersey.