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Noelle Witherspoon Arnold

Associate Professor, PK-12 Leadership & Policy, University of Missouri-Columbia

Dr. Noelle Witherspoon Arnold is an Associate Professor at the University of Missouri-Columbia in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis. She was as assistant professor in Educational Theory, Policy and Practice at LSU. Prior to that appointment, she taught elementary school, and served as an administrator at the district and state level.

She received her degree from the University of Alabama in Educational Administration, with minors in Social Foundations and Qualitative Research. Her research agenda includes analyses of life history and spiritual narratives documenting and analyzing how individuals integrate and negotiate personal religious and spiritual belief(s) in schooling practices.

Other aspects of her research agenda explore faith-based organizations and schools, how various belief systems emerge and impact the (re)interpretation of policy and practice in schools, education for social justice and advocacy, ethics of education, and gender and race in education. Other areas of strength and expertise that provide grounding for much of her teaching and research include womanisms and feminisms, ethics, philosophy, cultural studies, African American spirituality, sociology, history, critical geography and narratology.

Dr. Arnold has most recently been working on a funded research project by the Louisiana Chandler Foundation entitled “Leading after the Levees: Perspectives on Disaster, Crisis, and Educational Leadership. Dr. Arnold’s most recent articles have appeared in the International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, The Journal of Educational Administration History, Equity and Excellence in Education, and The Journal of Negro Education.


  • –present
    Associate Professor, PK-12 Leadership & Policy, University of Missouri