Hermanidad: Perspectives of the journey of Latina superintendents in school districts




Rivas-Garza, Nora

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The purpose of this qualitative phenomenological dissertation was to understand the perceived lived challenges Latina leaders faced when serving in the position of school district superintendent. The review of the literature affirmed the oppressive forces that Latina leaders encounter, as well as the lack of mentorship programs available for them; yet, it also brought to light the cultural community wealth, skills that Latinas leaders possessed when in top leadership positions. To best capture the essence of their experiences, five eligible participants who served in the position of district superintendent in K-12 non charter public school districts in the state of Texas, concentrated in South Texas, were interviewed. The approaches implemented for this study were transcendental phenomenological and narrative inquiry which were appropriate to use to best capture Latina superintendents perceived lived experiences. These approaches have been frequently used in educational research as means of eliciting participant voice. The methods of data collection included interviews, field notes, reflective journaling, ‘memoing’ and member checking which allowed for triangulation and established credibility of the study (Creswell & Poth, 2018). The lived experiences that Latina leaders faced when in the post of superintendent illuminated methods to best support them and others in leadership roles. Furthermore, the research also informed of the need to conduct a cross-examination of systems and policies that suppress Latina leaders in reaching and persisting in district leadership positions and called on politicians, leadership program evaluators, and state and national leaders who develop and write policy on the changes needed to increase the number of Latina superintendents in the state of Texas and the nation.



cultural community wealth, latina, lived experiences, lack of mentorship programs, superintendent, underrepresentation



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