Educational leadership for school change: Stories by six Latina elementary school principals
AuthorLoebe, Anna Yolanda
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractSix female, Hispanic elementary school principals from a southwestern urban school district were asked to describe leadership for school change through personal narrative in response to two central questions: (1) How does the Latina elementary school principal define and enact leadership for school change? (2) How does the variable of ethnic culture interplay in the Latina educational leadership role? A phenomenological research approach was used to seek answers to these questions. The participants were interviewed on three separate occasions within a one-month period using three in-depth, phenomenological interviews designed to draw out the participants' subjective, intuitive, personal, and metaphorical interpretations of the meaning of educational leadership as well as to identify any leadership characteristics they might attribute to Latina culture. The participants' metaphors defining educational leadership depicted a vibrant living mosaic of a leader responsible for developing the human potential of children and adults on a stage with ever-changing directors, props, and costumes. The more literal definitions of leadership conveyed a common belief that leadership is a collaborative effort of moving others forward toward some defined goal, generally of improving student learning. They identified three unique features of educational leadership. Educating children and youth creates a different kind of leadership when one must accept all students. Secondly, educational leaders are change agents responding to reform agendas primarily emanating from government sources. Lastly, educational leaders must be able to deal with limited budgets in creative and resourceful ways. The participants described how Latina culture influenced their leadership development and roles. They reported various kinds of barriers, tensions, conflicts, and ambivalence in realizing education and career goals. However, they found ways to circumvent or transcend obstacles along their career paths All participants reported cultural differences in their leadership styles. Dominant features of Latina leadership included speaking Spanish and understanding Latino culture, respect, service, sense of family, empathy, and use of personal narratives. Three other themes emerged from their stories--their need to "prove" themselves in academic and professional endeavors, their passion and urgency to right inequities, and the need to serve as cultural "brokers" to lead others to greater cultural understanding.
Degree ProgramGraduate College