University of California, Riverside

Faculty Profile System

Rita Kohli

Rita Kohli

Assistant Professor

Graduate School of Education
2103 Sproul Hall

Research Areas

As an interdisciplinary scholar of teacher education and teaching, Kohli applies frameworks from teacher education, educational foundations, and critical race studies to examine two main lines of inquiry: 1) a structural analysis of educational systems and practices that maintain or exacerbate racial inequity, and 2) an examination of teacher development practices that effectively advance racial equity.  Within this scholarship, Kohli pays particular attention to the preparation and support of teachers of color because of their noted impact on the academic opportunities of students of color yet their highly underrepresented presence in the field.    

Current Curriculum Vitae


  • B.A., University of California, Santa Barbara, Psychology
  • M.A., New York University, Sociology of Education
  • Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles, Education


Rita Kohli is an Assistant Professor in the Education, Society and Culture Department in the Graduate School of Education at the University of California, Riverside, and  is a co-founder and co-director of the Institute for Teachers of Color Committed to Racial Justice ( ITOC ).  She has a Ph.D. in Education with an emphasis on Race and Ethnic Studies from the University of California, Los Angeles  and served as an Inclusive Excellence Postdoctoral Fellow at Santa Clara University . A former Oakland Unified School District teacher and teacher educator, Kohli has spent over 15 years in urban public schools across the country.  Her research interests include urban schools, teacher education, teachers of color, critical race theory in education, school racial climate and racial hierarchies in K-12 schools.  Kohli just finished a four year term   as chair and program chair for the Critical Educators for Social Justice ( CESJ ), the largest Special Interest Group of the American Educational Research Association.    Her research has been published in academic journals such as  Urban Education,  Urban Review,   and  Teacher Education Quarterly,  and Race, Ethnicity and Education, where she serves on the editorial board.  She was co-editor of, “Critical Issues in the preparation, support and retention of teachers of color,” a special issue published by   Equity and Excellence in Education .  She is also currently co-editing a book that explores diverse voices of critical teacher educators who work within teacher education to advance racial justice, expected in 2017.  

PBS News Hour with Hari Sreenivasan:

Online Article, "Where You Work Matters"

NPR interview for Michael Krasney's show, "How Do You Say That? The Trouble With Pronouncing Names":

Blog Post for the Equity Alliance from ASU:




  • Picower, B. & Kohli, R. (Eds.) (forthcoming 2017 ). Navigating Racial Justice in Teacher Education: Case Studies from Critical Teacher Educators. Routledge.

Refereed Journal Articles

  • Kohli, R.  Pizarro, M. & Nevarez, A. (in press, 2017 ). The ‘New Racism’ of K-12 Schools: Centering Critical Research on Racism.  2017 Review of Research in Education.
  • Kohli, R. (2016). Behind school doors: The racialization of teachers of color in urban public
    schools. Urban Education. 1-27

  • Kohli, R. & Pizarro, M. (2016). Fighting to educate our own: Teachers of color, relational
    accountability and the struggle for racial justice. Equity and Excellence in Education. 49(1): 72- 84.

  • Kohli, R., Picower, B., Martinez, A. & Ortiz, N. (2015). Critical professional development:
    Centering the social justice needs of teachers. International Journal of Critical Pedagogy. 6(2)

  • Tintiangco-Cubales, A., Kohli, R. , Sacramento, J., Henning, N., Agarwal-Ragnath, R., & Sleeter, C. (2015). Toward an ethnic studies pedagogy: Implications for K-12 schools from the research. The Urban Review 47(1): 104-125.

  • Kohli, R. (2014). Unpacking internalized racism: teachers of color striving for racially just classrooms. Race Ethnicity and Education , 17 (3), 367-387.  *Named one of the most significant empirical contributions from June 2013-May 2014 by NCTE’s Research in the Teaching of English (RTE) .

  • Kohli, R. (2012). Racial Pedagogy of the Oppressed: Critical Interracial Dialogue for Teachers of Color. Education, Equity and Excellence. 45(1), 181-196.
  • Kohli, R. , & Solorzano, D. G. (2012). Teachers, please learn our names!: racial microagressions and the K-12 classroom. Race Ethnicity and Education , 15(4), 441-462.

  • Kohli, R. (2009). Critical race reflections: Valuing the experiences of teachers of color in teacher education. Race Ethnicity and Education , 12 (2), 235-251.

  • Kohli, R. (2008). Breaking the cycle of racism in the classroom: Critical race reflections from future teachers of color.   Teacher Education Quarterly, 35(4), 177-188.

  • Huber, L. P., Johnson, R. N., & Kohli, R. (2006). Naming racism: A conceptual look at internalized racism in US schools. Chicano-Latino L. Rev. , 26 , 183.

Special Issue

  • Jackson, T. & Kohli, R. (Eds.) (In Press). Critical issues of teachers of color: Preservice through induction years. Equity and Excellence in Education. 49(1): 1-8.


  • Kohli, R. & Pham, J. (Revise and Resubmit). Towards critical race praxis: developing teachers’ structural analysis of racial inequality. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education.
  • Kohli, R. (Under Review). Lessons for Teacher Education: The Role of Racial Literacy in Teacher of Color Retention. Part of special issue, Journal of Teacher Education.

In Preparation

  • Pizarro, M. & Kohli, R. (In Preparation). I’m not crazy!: Teachers of Color and the impact of racial battle fatigue. Intended submission, Harvard Educational Review
  • Burciaga, R. & Kohli, R. (In Preparation). The Community Cultural Wealth of Racial Justice Oriented Teachers of Color. Intended submission, Multicultural Perspectives
  • Kohli, R. & Picower, B. (In Preparation).  Confronting Racism in Teacher Education.
  • Kohli, R. & Pham, J. (In Preparation). Separating Labor from Humanity: The Commodification of Teachers of Color.

Book Chapters

  • Pham, J. & Kohli, R.  (In press, 2017). Cultivating Teachers as Change Agents: A Model of Critical Race Professional Development. In  Portraits of Anti-Racist Alternative Teacher Preparation in the U.S.: Framing Teacher Development for Community, Justice and Visionaries.  Ed. Gist, C.
  • Kohli, R. (2016). Beyond the demographics: Supporting the retention, growth and success of critical teachers of color. In Diversifying the Teaching Force in Transnational Contexts:  Critical Perspectives. Eds. Schmidt, C. & Schneider, J. Sense Publishers.
  • Kohli, R. (2014). Racial pedagogy of the oppressed: Critical interracial dialogue for teachers of color. Reprint from Education, Equity and Excellence in: Intergroup Dialogue: Engaging Difference, Social Identities and Social Justice. Eds. Zuniga, X., Lopez, G., & Ford, K. New York, NY: Routledge.
  • Kohli, R. (2012). Breaking the cycle of racism in the classroom: Critical race reflections from future teachers of color. Reprinted from Teacher Education Quarterly in: The Evolving Significance of Race: Living, Learning and Teaching. Eds. Berry, T. & Hughes, S.; Creskill, NJ: Hampton Press (invited chapter). *Book received 2014 Critics Choice Award by the American Educational Studies Association.
  • Kohli, R. & Solórzano, D. (2011). Racial conflict in communities of color and high school student activism. In Marching Students: Chicana/o Identity and the Politics of Education 1968 and the Present. Eds. Urrieta, L. & Revilla, A. Reno, NV: University of Nevada Press (invited chapter).

Electronic Publications and Magazines

  • Kohli, R. (2015). Where we work matters: School racial climate influences retention for teachers of color. Diversity Recruitment Partners in Education Magazine.
  • Kohli, R. (2013). Making the Invisible Visible: Addressing the Needs of Teachers of Color. University of Arizona Equity Alliance, Leadcast Blog.

More Information 

General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

Department Information

Graduate School of Education
1207 Sproul Hall

Tel: (951) 827-5234
Fax: (951) 827-3942


Last Modified: 2/2/17