Accessing the Superintendency: Challenges, Pathways, and Characteristics of Successful Latina Leaders
KeywordsCritical Race Theory
Latino Critical Race Theory
AdvisorBertrand, Melanie A.
MetadataShow full item record
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, presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractHistorically in the US, White males have dominated the superintendency accounting for 68.14% (Tienken, 2021). The figures are more despairing when it comes to Latina female superintendents who account for only 1% of superintendents nation-wide (Tienken, 2021). At the time of the study, in Arizona, 6% of Latina females held the superintendency compared to 61% of White males and 32% of White females (ADE, 2021). The disparity between male and female superintendency is concerning especially since 45% of Latinex students attend public schools in Arizona (ADE, 2021). Therefore, for this qualitative study, I used Critical Race Theory and Latino Critical Race Theory as a theoretical framework to research the experiences of 10 aspiring, practicing, and retired superintendents in Arizona K-12 public schools. I used snowball sampling to recruit participants. Data was collected using semi-structured interviews. I used CRT counter-stories to narrate the intersectional realities of Latina leader findings. My findings indicated that the patriarchal hegemonic structure in K-12 public schools presented intersectional, ethnic, gender, and political challenges to Latina leaders’ career mobility. Most of the Latina leaders discussed how the challenges affected their career mobility, causing internal and external effects. However, three of the participants stated that they did not experience challenges related to either race/ethnicity or that their career mobility was not impacted. The findings also revealed that relocating provided out-of-network access to the superindency. Additionally, participants used strategies and resources to manage their challenges and the stress associated with it. Finally, the study highlighted Latina leader’s successes, characteristics, and factors that might prevent Latina leaders from accessing the superintendency. These findings suggest implications for school districts to provide support systems and unbiased hiring practices for Latina leaders. The findings also imply possibilities for inclusion of transformative Latina literature in leadership literature and administrative preparation programs.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Educational Leadership & Policy