Meet Dr. Burke

Dr. Jennie Burke began her teaching career as Ms. Rayho back in 2004.  She worked for 12 years as a special education teacher in a diverse suburban Title I school in Central New Jersey.  This school will forever hold a place in her heart, because of all the wonderful teachers she collaborated with, the fascinating students she worked with, and one special colleague who later became her husband.

Teacher by day, learner by night-she spent her evening trying to satiate her hunger for knowledge by obtaining first her Masters Degree from Seton Hall University, and then her Educational Doctorate from Rutger’s University.  Wanting to have an even greater impact on the field of early childhood education, Burke decided to turn to teacher education.  She joined the faculty at Millersville University of Pennsylvania as an Assistant Professor in 2016. She also added four little ones to her family.  She credits her children for her graying hair and new perspective on what is really important in early childhood education.

Burke’s research agenda is focused on social justice within elementary social studies education.  Her dissertation, He, She, & Me: How Elementary Children Construct Gender and Race in the Context of an Anti-Bias Curriculum, led her to explore how young children experience gender, race, bias, and stereotypes within their school settings. Her research features the voice of young children, because she strives to capture and share their experiences in their classrooms.  Her current endeavors at Millersville University with pre-service teachers focuses mostly on social studies methods, getting pre-service teachers to consider issues of equity (and inequity) that occurs in classrooms and in curricula.


Burke, J. (2017). Notable trade book lesson plan: Unspoken. In A.S. Libresco, J. Balantic, & M. Battenfeld. (Eds.), Notable books, notable lessons: Putting social studies in the K-8 curriculum Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO.

Burke, J. (2017) “I think he is a she”: First grade students grapple with the gender binary while reading transgender picture book. In S. Travis, A. M. Kraehe, E. J. Hood, & T. E. Lewis.(Eds.) Pedagogies in the Flesh: Case Studies on the Embodiment of Sociocultural Differences in Education. Basingstoke, United Kingdom. Palgrave Macmillan

Burke, J. (2017) Examining the power structures that impact friendships. In P. Chandler & T. Hawley (Eds.) Race Lessons: Using Inquiry to Teach About Race in Social Studies. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.

Burke, J., & Mitchell, J. (2018) From suffrage to stereotypes: exploring historical and contemporary gender issues with third graders. In L. Willox & C. Brant (Eds.) It’s Being Done in Social Studies: Race, Class, Gender and Sexuality in the Pre/K-12 Curriculum. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.

Burke, J. (2019) Applying theory to problematic practice: Lessons learned from the implementation of a unit on gender. In B. C. Rubin, E. B. Freedman, & J. Kim (Eds.) Design research in social studies education: Critical lessons from an emerging field. Routledge