A Phenomenological Study of Latina School Principals in Texas




Barrera, Destiny Marie

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Although the women's rights movement of the 1970s opened new opportunities for women in education, women continue to be underrepresented in leadership positions in public school districts, which might indicate a need to better understand obstacles and explore the meaning of providing greater support to women aspiring to executive level positions. Before looking into how some Hispanic women achieved success of obtaining administrative leadership positions, there exists a need to understand how the barriers have come about, and in many instances how the barriers continue to present difficulties for Hispanic women in their pursuit of administrative recognition and promotion. The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore the lived experiences of how Hispanic female school principals arrived to their ascension of a principal at the elementary, middle, and high school level.

This research study explored the essence of the lived experiences of Hispanic women who have achieved leadership roles as principals within Texas public education school districts. Using a phenomenological approach, the goal was to better understand the paths taken by women to their ascension into the principalship, the meaning revealed about any hurdles they may have encountered on their path, and how these women describe their journey. This research sought to influence education best practices regarding the enhanced utilization of Hispanic female leadership in principal leadership roles. The findings revealed through data analysis that three common themes along with several subthemes emerged from their voices; determination and grit, resilience, and social supports. All women had the determination and grit to reach the principalship. They showed resilience in the face of obstacles that presented themselves and found themselves in the role as principal because someone saw something in them and gave them the gift of social support.


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Educational Leadership and Policy Studies