Date of Award



© 2021 Matthew E. Speno

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Ella Benson

Second Advisor

Staci Grasky

Third Advisor

Donald Cannan


The secondary education system in the United States provides the opportunity for students to earn a high school diploma in preparation for post-secondary college and career. These students are taught by certified high school teachers with similar pedagogy but deliver instruction in different content areas. This qualitative study was conducted to understand how rural CTE high school teachers describe their lived experience of being a member of the secondary education teaching corps. Guided by two research questions that ask (1) how rural CTE teachers describe their teacher professional identity and (2) how rural CTE teachers characterize the role of vocational training in secondary education, the study used transcendental phenomenology as a methodology to explicate data collected through semi-structured interviews of six certified rural CTE high school teachers. The explication process followed Moustakas’ (1994) modification of the van Kaam method of analysis of phenomenological data. From the development of individual textural-structural descriptions of the phenomenon, a composite synthesis of data resulted in a description of the essences and meanings of the experience of teacher professional identity by the participant group. These findings indicate rural CTE high school teachers exhibit attributes of Teacher Professional Identity and Teacher Agency in their lived experience as a secondary education teacher.


Ed.D. Dissertation