Braided Latina Principal Careers: A Critical Race Examination Case Study

Braided Latina Principal Careers: A Critical Race Examination Case Study

Author: 
Patricia M. López
Program of study: 
Ed.D./CI
Abstract: 
This qualitative descriptive case study explored lived experiences of female Latina principals in a southern bay area California county. Researchers are in agreement that there are limited studies in describing female Latina principals advancing their careers by overcoming barriers and challenges. Six individual semi-structured in-depth interviews were used to gather the information related to Latina female principals’ career development, the female Latina principal, educational leadership, and educational administrator. Latina female principals are not entering the administrative ranks in proportion to the numbers receiving administrative credentials and in comparison to the Hispanic student population. Results of this study show female Latina principals encountered barriers of race, gender, power barriers, and lack of systematic mentors. Principals were supported to overcome these barriers through their commitment to their careers, personal drive and passion, cultural assets such as language and culture, and informal supports from mentors and families. Knowledge acquired from this study may prove beneficial to sustaining continued investigations of career advancement opportunities for Latina principals in California. Moreover, implications from this study may help clarify opportunities for career advancement, self-consciousness, and self-identity for Latina principals.
Dedication: 
To my husband Bernardo, and our son, Samuel López. Everything I do is for us. In loving memory of my maternal grandmother, Socorro Victoria Rojas; may you continue to rest in peace. You live in all of us. To my parents, Carlos and Maria Sánchez who believed in my insatiable curiosity to learn, and nurtured my drive for change and equality with their consejos and apoyo; I am grateful and blessed for having you as my parents. Gracias a mis padres, he logrado mis sueños y la habilidad de tener todo con tan poco. A mi nunca me falto nada, gracias al esfuerzo de mis padres. DIOS- es mi fortaleza; con él todo, sin él, nada.
Acknowledgements: 
would like to acknowledge and extend all my gratitude to my Dissertation Committee Chair, Dr. Nancy Spitulnik. Doc, you believed in me, encouraged me, and never gave up on me; I am grateful for your tough love and optimistic encouragement. I would like to acknowledge my committee for their invaluable assistance as it has supported my persistent efforts. My committee members, Dr. Shawn Boone and Dr. Noni Reis for their support and assistance. Dr. Joseph Avella, thank you for your stroke of genius and constructive criticism. I am grateful to my academic advisor Misa Alexander who never let me quit. Thank you to the Latina principals who participated in this study, your support to this study, and what you do for the lives of all the children you serve is evident in the pláticas you shared with me. ¡Gracias! A warm thank you is extended to my brothers and their families, whose support encouraged me unconditionally. Thank you Oscar, Bobby, Jovie, Mari and Carlos for the never ending love and keeping me focused in the most difficult of times. Ramón, hermano, you watched from heaven, and I hope you too are proud of your little sister. Family, teachers, and friends who provided emotional support and spiritual guidance: Laura Valencia-Solorio, Dr. Francine Young, I am indebted to you, and hope that I can make up for the lost time with the rest of our lives. Dr. Nichole Walsh, without your encouragement and guidance, I would never have finished what I started. Lovingly, I would like to encourage my god-daughter Gennahlyn, and Yani, god-sons Evan, Andrew, Isaiah, Sebastian and Marcos, my nieces, Bella, Natalia and Mariah, nephews Saúl, Isaac, Noah, Mateo, babyNatalia, Sebas and Meñin… ¡héchenle ganas!