About Dr. sj Miller

sj Miller, Ph.D (no pronoun usage)


For background and personal interests click here.

socially just  educational consulting and coaching®

Peter Lang Series Co-editor

Social Justice Across Contexts in Education

Teachers College Press Series Editor

Spaces In-between: Beyond Binary Gender Identities and Sexualities



6401 Richards Ave, Room 4C
Santa Fe, New Mexico 87508-4887

Trans scholar SJ Miller speaking to English students and local teachers at Buffalo State College.

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Accessibility, and Belonging+ (DEIAB+) anchor a productive working community and serve as an instrument to help guide organizations as they plan, organize, shift, and seek to resolve issues as they emerge. I offer different types of tailored reflective, change oriented, and solutions-based professional development, academic coaching, and technical support that leverages and builds on individual and group capacities for change. Your organization will develop successful DEIAB+ strategies to implement and guide broad-scale transformation.

About Me

dr miller tedmed talk

Dr. sj Miller, a thought-partner, is a trans* + disciplinary award-winning teacher, writer, activist, and scholar and a Professor in the Teacher Academy at the Santa Fe Community College. Dr. Miller is an equity and literacy specialist whose emphasis is on social justice and gender identity in pre-K through university level teaching and in the transectionality of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Accessibility, and Belonging + (DEIAB+).


Throughout the past 27 years, Dr. Miller has worked in different socio-economic, socio-cultural, and linguistic contexts across the world while serving in diverse capacities within educational and professional development settings. Dr. Miller has been an elementary, middle school, and secondary classroom history and English teacher; has taught both undergraduate and graduate students in teacher education and educational leadership programs; and has consulted on DEIAB+ policy issues for staff, faculty and administration in public Universities and Colleges, for mental and behavioral health providers and organizations, law enforcement, human resources, tech companies, start-ups, and advisory and non-profit boards. Dr. Miller has served as Director of University-based Teacher Education Programs; Policy and Grant Writer; Community Organizer and Performer; and as a Professional Development Educator.


Dr. Miller is considered to be the ground-breaking researcher on gender identity in pre-K-12 and across higher educational contexts within education. Such research has materialized into over thirty book chapters, over fifty articles, 8 books, including Teaching, Affirming, and Recognizing Trans and Gender Creative Youth: A Queer Literacy Framework, which was translated into Spanish by UNESCO and awarded the 2017 AERA Exemplary Research Award for Outstanding Book and the 2018 Outstanding Book by the Michigan Council of Teachers of English. In April 2019, Dr. Miller received the AERA Distinguished Contributions to Gender Equity in Education Research Award. Dr. Miller’s latest books include about Gender Identity Justice in Schools and Communities and the co-written book Navigating trans*+ and complex gender identities. Dr. Miller is editor of the book series, Spaces In-between: Beyond Binary Gender Identities and Sexualities (Teachers College Press) and co-editor of the series Social Justice Across Contexts in Education (Peter Lang).

In 2019, Dr. Miller presented at the TEDMED Conference on Gender Identity Justice and has been a contributor to CBS News, BBC, and PBS and appeared in the feature documentary, Gender: The Space Between on CBS.


Dr. Miller has a New Mexico Level 3-A Instructional Leader K-8 Elementary License, and Level 3-A Instructional Leader Pre-K-12 Specialty Area License with endorsements in Social Studies, Language Arts, and Mathematics.


For full bio click here.

Theoretical Frames

Social justice, equity-driven, trans and trans*+, trans*+-culturally sustaining, culturally responsive and relevant, critical race, queer, anti-racist/m, feminist, social positioning, geospatial, socio-spatial, spatiality and temporality, critical discourse, anti-bullying theory/pedagogy, and critical literacy.

​At the center of my research are transdisciplinary perspectives on justice which cut across theory, epistemology and pedagogy.

sj miller tedmed talk 5

Teaching Philosophy

santa fe community college students

My pedagogy is framed by a deep commitment to social change and social justice through constructivism, anti-racism/ist, social activism, equity and asset-driven, culturally relevant, responsive, and sustaining, and liberatory teaching practices. These theories lay the foundation for my teaching practices and praxis which are student-centered.


​I teach to support preservice student teachers to develop a beginning teaching pedagogy by interrogating how their prior experiences shape their belief systems and how those belief systems shape their teaching practices and goals. I encourage preservice teachers to make meaning of how their belief systems have and will shape their eventual teaching identities.


Together we interrogate and deconstruct how we have been shaped by hegemony and the institutions in which we are embedded and discuss how we can reconstruct ourselves away from institutionalized thinking and practice. We do so by examining how our own prejudices, and if gone unchecked, can escalate into detrimental teaching patterns and practices. I assist my student teachers in creating socially and culturally relevant and equity-driven lesson plans that will meet the needs of the diverse learners with whom they will engage.​​

Research Interests

  • Socio-spatial justice
  • Preservice and inservice teacher dispositions
  • Urban Education and English Education
  • Gender Identity topics in pre-K-12th and university contexts addressing policy, theory, pedagogy and curriculum
  • Marginalized/undervalued student literacies and identities
  • Diversity, Equity, Inclusivity, Accessibility and Belonging+ writ large
  • ​Disrupting the School-to-Prison Pipeline
sj miller SFCC equity teacher

Other Ways to Find Me

Background and Personal Interests

Though born in New Orleans, Louisiana, I spent my formative years in Santa Fe, NM. I was a stand-out soccer player and swimmer and was awarded a full ride to play soccer at U.C. Berkeley. Graduating with a B.A. in Social Sciences and a Minor in Psychology, I went on to receive my Masters at the Hebrew Union College in Los Angeles, California. In 1994, I moved back to Santa Fe and started my career teaching Hebrew School while working on my elementary and secondary teaching licensures in Language Arts, Social Studies and Coaching at the University of New Mexico (UNM) in Albuquerque. I then went on to teach middle school history, and eventually, found my passion teaching high school Advanced Placement (AP) Literature and Composition, Humanities and a variety of different 9-12th grade classes. During my time as a high school teacher and to support myself, I coached men’s and women’s varsity soccer at Santa Fe High School, continued to teach many different grades of Hebrew school, and tutored youth to become a Bar/Bat Mitzvah.


In 1998, I began doing professional development workshops for the College Board in New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, and Wyoming. I then became a table leader for the AP Lit and Comp reading (and have now read for 19 years). After many years of consulting, I decided it was time for me to pursue my Ph.D., at UNM in secondary English Education. While working on my doctorate and teaching at the University, I kept my high school classroom and completed my degree in 2005.


I then moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to teach at Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP) in the English Education program. I taught undergraduate and graduate courses in young adult literature, reading and writing methods, critical pedagogy, and popular culture for educators, and directed the Masters in English Education program. As I was moving in rank from Assistant to a tenured, Associate Professor, I socially and medically transitioned to appear male, while I simultaneously came to understand that I identify as trans-agender, which is a moving away from, and a refusal to identify with a gender. As a result of my medical and social transitions, I incurred countless microaggressions from within the institution. Needing a fresh start, I decided to move toward a different position at the University of Missouri Kansas City (UMKC), where I worked in Secondary Urban and English Education teaching undergraduate and graduate courses in urban teacher education, secondary methods, the teaching of reading, and the teacher of writing. During my time there, the University of Colorado, Boulder invited me for a position, which is where I then went to teach as a secondary Urban and English Education Literary specialist in the Curriculum and Instruction Program. I taught undergraduate and graduate courses in methods, linguistics for educators, and doctoral seminars with a focus on Urban teacher education. From Boulder, I left on a grant-funded research and teaching contracted position at New York University (NYU) where I served as Deputy Director of the Center for Research on Equity in Teacher Education for the Metropolitan Center for Research on Equity and the Transformation of Schools, and as a Research Professor in the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. I was fortunate to work with individuals from across the campus who served students in myriad capacities while I was building a teacher education equity study to assess perspectives of equity in their teacher education and education leadership programs. Upon completion of the grant, I accepted the position as Faculty Associate, Associate Professor and Coordinator of the Master of Science, Dual Teacher Certification Program in Secondary English Education and English as a Second Language at The University of Wisconsin-Madison in the School of Education’s Curriculum & Instruction, UWTeach program. I have now moved back to my claimed home in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and after some deep soul-searching, have made an “academic turn.” I now work, truly on the ground, at our local Santa Fe Community College, where I am a Professor of Teacher Education in the Teacher Academy. Our program works with undergraduate and graduate students across the state who are completing their teaching licensure.


I present on my own research, provide tailored professional development and give keynotes on topics related to culture, race, and class at the intersections/tran*+sections of (1). Gender identity complexity across theory, pedagogy, curriculum and policy in pre-K- 12th and university contexts (2). Trans*+ and gender creative/expansive pre K-12th grade and university students, (3). LGBT*+IAGCQ topics (4). Teaching social justice and equity pedagogy in education, (5). Anti-bullying and (6). Disrupting the school-to-prison pipeline.


Currently, I am on the Editorial Board for the National Education Policy Center, consult on the research project: A novel approach for equitable characterization of gender and its use in exposing subgroup discrepancies in polygenic score associations, funded by National Human Genome Research Institute; and, yes, writing again!

 I have a deep love for my cats, Slate, Tazzy, and Einstein and often learn about life from training and watching them. They have taught me about stillness and peace, and how important play is for the spirit. I love staying fit and enjoy biking, running, swimming, lifting and hiking in the mountains…


Of great importance to me through it all, is the building of intentional communities guided by intention, social justice, and love…. 


  • 2019 AERA Distinguished Contributions to Gender Equity in Education Research Award
    bullet point arrow Distinguished Contributions to Gender Equity in Education Research Award recognizes individuals within AERA for distinguished research, professional practice, and activities that advance public understanding of gender and/or sexuality at any level in the education community

  • 2018 ​Outstanding Book Award, Michigan Council Teachers of English
    ​​bullet point arrow Teaching, Affirming and Recognizing Trans and Gender Creative Youth: A Queer Literacy Framework
  • 2017 Exemplary Research Award, American Educational Research Association, Division K, Teaching and Teacher Education
    bullet point arrow Teaching, Affirming and Recognizing Trans and Gender Creative Youth: A Queer Literacy Framework
  • 2015 Joanne Arnold Courage and Commitment Award
    bullet point arrow For contributions to advocacy and education in the lives of LGBTQ people at the University of Colorado Boulder and beyond
  • 2012 Essential Book for Professionals Who Serve Teens,” by Voices of Youth Advocate Magazine Awarded
    bullet point arrow Generation Bullied 2..0 Generation BULLIED 2.0: Prevention and Intervention Strategies for Our Most Vulnerable Students
  • 2008 Richard A. Meade Award from NCTE
    bullet point arrow Unpacking the Loaded Teacher Matrix: Negotiating Space and Time Between University and Secondary English Classrooms
  • 2008 Best Book from International Writing Centers Association Scholarship Award
    bullet point arrow Creative Approaches to Writing Center Work
  • 2007 Most Outstanding English Education Advisor
    bullet point arrow Indiana University of Pennsylvania 2007-08
  • 2006 Excellence in Writing (2006 APEX: Awards for Publication Excellence) for issue of English Journal, for contribution of
    bullet point arrow Shattering Images of Violence in Young Adult Literature: Strategies for the Classroom
  • 2005 Kate and Paul Farmer Article of the Year Award from the English Journal
    bullet point arrow Shattering Images of Violence in Young Adult Literature: Strategies for the Classroom
  • 2004 PFLAG Honoring Diversity Award
    bullet point arrow Santa Fe, NM
  • 2001 Mayor’s Award
    bullet point arrow For dedication to community service in Santa Fe, NM
  • 2000 Human Right’s Award
    bullet point arrow Humanitarian and social justice award advocate for gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender youth, Santa Fe, NM
  • 2000 Most influential Teacher
    bullet point arrow Santa Fe High School