Bettie Ray Butler

Associate Professor
Dr. Bettie Ray Butler is an Associate Professor of Urban Education and the Director of the Student Discipline Joint Task Force at UNC Charlotte. She also serves as the Program Director of the Master's of Education (M.Ed.) in Urban Education. She currently teaches both core and specialized courses in the Curriculum and Instruction Ph.D. program. She has also taught undergraduate and master's level courses that center on diversity in education and teacher preparation. Dr. Butler's existing publication record consists of several referred journal articles, book chapters, and policy reports that center on critical issues in urban education. Broadly, her research investigates issues of equity, representation, and social justice in education. Her specialized area of interests are school discipline and culturally responsive classroom management. Her current work utilizes a restorative framework to assess racial and gender disproportionality in school punishment and identify and develop alternatives to student suspension.


  • Ph.D. - Texas A&M University Curriculum and Instruction (Urban Education)
  • M.A - Texas A&M University Political Science (Public Administration and Public Policy)
  • B.A. - North Carolina A&T State University and Duke University Political Science and Criminal Justice (Minor in Mass Communication)


  • Power, Privilege and Education
  • Urban Educational Policy
  • Social Deviance, Delinquency, and Education
  • Urban Schooling, Curriculum, and Pedagogy
  • Critical Readings in Urban Education
  • Critical Readings in Urban Education Research
  • Culturally Responsive Classroom Management
  • Diverse Learners
  • Critical Media Pedagogy
  • Diversity and Inclusion in Secondary Schools
  • Honors Seminar in Education

Research Interests/Areas of Expertise

  • Diversity and Education (Teacher Preparation)
  • Culturally Relevant (Sustaining) Pedagogy
  • Culturally Responsive Classroom Management
  • Education Policy
  • School Discipline
  • Social Justice

Community Involvement

  • University-School-Community Partnerships
  • Behailu Academy
  • Turning Point Academy (Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools)
  • Charlotte Mecklenburg Board of Education
  • Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department

Selected Publications

Butler, B. R., & Triplett, N. (in press). The effects of administrative leadership on racial disparities in school discipline. A closer look at White male principals. In D. Armstrong & B. McMahon (Eds.). Convictions of conscience: How voices from the margins inform public actions and educational leadership.

Butler, B. R., Coffee, H. , & Young, J. (in press). Justice-oriented teaching dispositions in urban education. A critical interpretive case study. Urban Education.

Coffee, H. & Butler, B. R. (in press). Developing social justice through service learning: The potential of university-school partnerships for fostering justice oriented dispositions among students of color. International Journal of Research on Service-Learning in Teacher Education.

Young, J., Butler, B. R. Dolzhenko, I., & Ardrey, T. (2018). Deconstructing teacher quality in urban early childhood education. Journal for Multicultural Education.

King, E., & Butler, B. R. (2015). Who cares about diversity!? A preliminary investigation of exposure to courses on cultural diversity in teacher preparation programs in North Carolina. Multicultural Perspectives, 17 (1), 46-52. 

Blake, J., Butler, B. R., & Smith, D. (2015). Challenging middle class notions of femininity: The cause of Black females’ disproportionate suspension rates. In D. Losen (Ed.). Closing the school discipline gap: Equitable remedies for excessive exclusion (pp.75-88). New York: Teachers College Press. 

Butler, B. R., Robinson, D., & Walton, C. (2014) A perfect storm: How pose, perception and threat converge to perpetuate discriminatory discipline practices. In C. Lewis & J. Moore (Eds.). African American male students in preK-12 schools: Informing research, policy, and practice (pp. 151-175). Bradford, United Kingdom: Emerald Group Publishing. 

Butler, B. R., Lewis, C., Moore, J. & Scott, M. (2012). Assessing the odds: Disproportional discipline practices and implications for educational stakeholders. Journal of Negro Education, 81(1), 11-24. 

Blake, J., Butler, B. R., Lewis, C., & Darensbourg, A. (2011). Unmasking the inequitable discipline experiences of urban Black girls: Implications for urban educational stakeholders. Urban Review, 43(1), 90-106. 

Lewis, C., Butler, B. R., Bonner, F., & Joubert, M. D. (2010). African American male discipline patterns and school district responses resulting impact on academic achievement: Implications for urban educators and policy makers. Journal of African American Males in Education, 1(1), 7-25.

Butler, B. R., Joubert, M. D., & Lewis, C. (2010). Who’s really disrupting the classroom: An examination of African American male students and their disciplinary roles. National Journal of Urban Education and Practice, 3(1), 1-12.*