Career paths of Latina high school assistant principals: perceived barriers and support systems




Reyes, Marco Alfonso

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Latina principals and assistant principals at the high school level have been overlooked in academic research. A review of literature is explored indicating how Latina, public high school assistant principals and principals are disproportionately underrepresented and face the double challenge of being a gender and an ethnic minority in the field of educational leadership. A qualitative study was conducted that begins with a statement of the problem, review of literature, and continues with a description of the research design, data collection, analysis of the data, discussion of findings, and concludes with the researcher's challenges. Phenomenology was the research methodology used to study four Latina assistant principals' experiences and perceptions of barriers and support systems in relation to their career journey. Role congruity theory was used as a theoretical lens to explore the prejudices, discrimination, and career path barriers that female leaders encounter. Findings revealed that the four participants interviewed had similar experiences and perceptions concerning four main themes of motivation, challenges, support systems, and cultural identification; subthemes were also explored. Discussed is a new conceptual model which outlines the career stages of the participants. Overall, the narrative data from the participants, the coded themes and subthemes, and the new conceptual model highlight that there are various barriers and support systems that impact Latina high school assistant principals' career path experiences. Specifically, the challenges identified are institutional challenges in the form of poor educational leadership, prejudicial hiring practices, and internal challenges in the form of conflicts about family verses job obligations.


The author has granted permission for their work to be available to the general public.


assistant principal, barriers, career, Latina, phenomenology, support systems



Educational Leadership and Policy Studies