A Multiple Case Study of the Perceptions and Experiences of Latinas as They Navigated Their Path to the High School Principalship
Texas is home to over 11 million Latinos according to the latest U.S. Census Bureau report. As the Latino population grows, it continues to surpass the growth of the majority. Keeping this pace, Latinos are soon to represent a plurality. In the high school principalship, there is a disproportionate amount of Latina leaders. There is a need to examine Latina leadership. In this study, the pathways and experiences of Latina high school principals who may have overcome barriers are examined. The research question is: What are the perceptions and experiences of Latinas as they navigated their path to the high school principalship? Using a multiple case study research method, in depth individual interviews were conducted with three Latina high school principals in South Texas in order to examine how and in what ways did their perceptions and experiences manifest in their leadership practice. Literature describes two theories that support the ways in which Latinas lead. Both Resiliency and Mujerista Theories fit their narratives. Resiliency Theory describes how each principal examined risks ad threats in order to make judgments that were ultimately positive. They were able to react or adapt to the risks they faced. In addition, Mujerista Theory described how Latinas self-defined and healed as they faced survival and growth in the face of multiple, intersecting forms of oppression. The three Latinas high school principals faced the struggle (la lucha), expressed their voice (permitanme hablar), and maintained their community of family (la comunidad/la familia). Each shared strategies to help future Latina leaders. The significance of this study is the possibility that the personal and professional experiences, as told in the case studies that Latina high school principals shared, may enhance our understanding of this at-risk population, with counter-stories of Latina leaders who serve as role models.