Samara Suafoa

Samara Suafo’a is a Clinical Assistant Professor and Assistant Director of Department of Teacher Education. As a biracial Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander originally from O’ahu, Hawaii, she credits her positionality in informing her perspectives on the moral, ethical, professional, and personal responsibilities of today’s K-16 educators, particularly ones who teach culturally and linguistically diverse students in urban settings.

Her research interests include K-16 policy and practice related to critical social justice, allyship, classroom and school ecology, the intersectionality of race and athletics, and the integration of effective pedagogical practices to improve K-16 athletic capacities. While deeply invested in educational research relevant to her own Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander community, she is equally committed to applying that research to elevate the voices and experiences of other communities of color.

Prior to joining CGU’s Department of Teacher Education, Suafo’a’s professional experience comprises 15 years of teaching, leadership, and administrative roles in K-12 urban educational settings in both Hawaii and California. These roles include serving as a special class teacher for students with moderate/severe disabilities, resource teacher, new teacher mentor, special education program coordinator, local district integration support provider, and high school women’s basketball coach.

Suafo’a earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Linfield College, a master’s degree in special education with an emphasis on students with moderate-severe disabilities from the California State University at Dominguez Hills, and a PhD in Urban Leadership from Claremont Graduate University.

Co-authored with D. Ganley. “Including Samir. The challenges of creating an integrated school culture.” In Case Studies for Inclusive Educators and Leaders, edited by Darrin Griffiths and James Ryan. Word and Deed Publishers, 2018.

Content Literacy and Methods in Special Education