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Open Access Publications from the University of California

An Exploratory Study of the Perspectives of K-12 Latina School Administrators

  • Author(s): Rodriguez, Helen Sandoval
  • Advisor(s): Conley, Sharon
  • Cook-Gumperz, Jenny
  • et al.


An Exploratory Study of the Perspectives of K-12 Public School Latina School Leaders in One California Region


Helen Rodriguez

This dissertation utilized a qualitative research design to explore the perceptions of Latina K-12 educational leaders in a southern geographic region within California. Current trends among K-12 public schools in California reflect a disproportionate ratio of Latino(a) students to Latino(a) school administrators. This disparity creates a need for increased insight and understanding of cultural mores and customs typically associated with the ethnic make-up of the school population, which promotes the potential for successful administrative leadership. However, potential school administrators who are Latina are at particular risk to achieve a position of leadership within the public school setting for a variety of reasons. This research utilized interview data from 6 Latina leaders who were currently working as educational administrators, and had professional experience in schools from before their time as educational leaders. The participants were given pseudonyms that fit with the main themes in their interviews. The case descriptions presented the following from each participant: background, experiences with mentoring, leadership roles, views on female/male leadership, goals and challenges, views on Latina leaders, and networks. Potential trends in the perceptions of barriers that presented challenges to Latina school administrators from reaching positions of school leadership are discussed. Implications identify considerations for practice that will build capacity of Latina public school leadership that is reflective of the ethnic community they serve.

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