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Hispanic women leaders in K-12 public education: Overcoming barriers to success

ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, 2011
Dissertation
Author: Cora Torres Falk
Abstract:
Scholarly research has been written on the forces behind the barriers preventing Hispanic women from reaching the top of the public school ladder. These barriers are to be recognized and addressed. This study focuses not on the barriers which hinder forward and upward career movement, but instead examines how many Hispanic American women have not allowed these barriers to prevent them from achieving their goals of attaining the principalship. This study seeks to determine how Hispanic women principals came to grips with the challenges and barriers to promotion, and to success as K-12 school leaders. This qualitative research study consisted of 12 Hispanic female school principals from the Dallas/Fort Worth metropolitan area. The three districts selected were Fort Worth Independent School District, Arlington Independent School District, and Grand Prairie Independent School District. Three principals were from Grand Prairie Independent School District, two principals were from Arlington Independent School District, and seven principals were from the Fort Worth Independent School District. All of the 12 Hispanic school principals were interviewed. From the responses to each of the questions, themes became evident. The themes expressed what individual principals had done and the strategies they used to overcome the varied barriers which they confronted. The responses to the interview questions and the themes were very insightful and displayed the women's tenacity, courage, perseverance, and determination to succeed in their aspirations to become Hispanic female principals and leaders in their school districts.

TABLE OF CONTENTS Page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS .................................................................................................................iii LIST OF TABLES ...........................................................................................................................viii LIST OF FIGURES ..........................................................................................................................ix CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION ........................................................................................................1 Background of the Study ....................................................................................................1 Problem Statement .............................................................................................................8 Professional Signifcance of the Study ................................................................................9 Overview of Methodology ..................................................................................................9 Delimitatons or Limitatons of the Study .........................................................................10 Summary ..........................................................................................................................11 Defniton of Terms ...........................................................................................................12 CHAPTER 2 REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE ..................................................................................14 Historical Barriers to Women’s Success ............................................................................14 Professional and Personal Challenges of Women in School Leadership ...........................18 Professional Networking .............................................................................................18 Low Representaton ....................................................................................................19 Gender and Racial Bias in the Workplace ...................................................................20 Balancing Family and Career .......................................................................................20 Reasons the Challenges Occur ..........................................................................................32 Mentoring ...................................................................................................................35 Networking .................................................................................................................41 Role Models ................................................................................................................43 Summary ..........................................................................................................................45 CHAPTER 3 METHODOLOGY ......................................................................................................47 General Perspectve ..........................................................................................................47

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Research Context ..............................................................................................................47 Partcipants .......................................................................................................................53 Data Collecton .................................................................................................................54 Data Analysis ....................................................................................................................55 Summary ..........................................................................................................................56 CHAPTER 4 RESULTS ..................................................................................................................57 What Factors Have Contributed to the Success of Hispanic Female School Leaders? ........57 Encouragement by Various Educators ........................................................................58 Intrinsic Determinaton to Reach Goal and to Succeed ...............................................59 Family Members Who Provided Encouragement, Which Included Parents, Fathers, Mothers, and Husbands ..............................................................................................59 Motvaton to Be a Positve Infuence for Students, Parents, and the Community .....60 What Insttutonal Challenges Did Hispanic Female School Leaders Encounter? ..............60 Lack of Support from Counselors and Advisors ..........................................................60 Bilingual Program Displacing Regular Teachers ..........................................................61 Parental Prejudices Toward a Mexican Teacher Teaching Her Child ..........................61 Encountering Teacher Discriminaton Toward Hispanic Children ...............................61 Prejudices Toward Assignment of a Hispanic in a Predominantly White Anglo Community .................................................................................................................62 What Family Challenges Did HispanicFemale School Leaders Encounter? ........................62 Difculty for Parents to Let Their Daughters Leave Home for College ........................62 Marriage and Family Versus Atending College ...........................................................63 Balancing Work and Family .........................................................................................64 Life Challenges ............................................................................................................65 What Personal Challenges Did Hispanic Female School Leaders Encounter? ....................66 Acceptance as a Hispanic Female Principal .................................................................66 Where Are the Hispanic Female Principals? ................................................................67

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Hispanic Female Principal’s Rise to Diferent Levels of the Principals Viewed as Ambiton for Self .........................................................................................................68 Balancing Work and Family .........................................................................................68 What Strategies Did Hispanic Female School Leaders Employ to Overcome the Various Barriers to Success? ..........................................................................................................69 Staying Current With What Is Going on in Educaton .................................................69 Reaching Out to the Community ................................................................................70 Finding Strength and Guidance from God ..................................................................70 Having Determinaton and Honesty ............................................................................71 What Advice Do Hispanic Female School Leaders Have to Ofer for Aspiring Hispanic Females Desiring Leadership Positons in K–12 Schools? ..................................................71 Be Determined and Stay Focused ...............................................................................71 Be Positve About Yourself and Others .......................................................................72 Trust Your Staf, Develop Teamwork, and Be Able to Delegate ...................................73 Have a Support System ...............................................................................................74 Summary ..........................................................................................................................74 CHAPTER 5 SUMMARY AND DISCUSSION ..................................................................................78 Statement of the Problem ................................................................................................78 Review of Methodology ...................................................................................................79 Summary of the Results ....................................................................................................79 Discussion of the Results ..................................................................................................81 Implicatons of the Study ............................................................................................81 Relatonship to Key Studies .........................................................................................84 What Factors Have Contributed to the Success of Hispanic Female School Leaders? ................................................................................................................84 What Insttutonal Challenges Did Hispanic Female School Leaders Encounter? ..84 What Family Challenges Did Hispanic Female School Leaders Encounter? ...........85 What Personal Challenges Did Hispanic Female School Leader Encounter? .........86

vii

What Strategies Did Hispanic Female School Leaders Employ to Overcome the Various Barriers to Success? .................................................................................87 What Advice Do Hispanic Female School Leaders Have to Ofer for Aspiring Hispanic Females Desiring Leadership Positons in K–12 Schools? ........................87 Recommendatons for Further Research ..........................................................................89 Conclusion ........................................................................................................................90 Appendices A.  RECRUITMENT LETTER ..........................................................................................92 B.  INTERVIEW SCRIPT .................................................................................................94 C.  IRB INFORMED CONSENT FORM ............................................................................96 REFERENCES ..................................................................................................................................99

viii

LIST OF TABLES 1. U.S. Public School Enrollment, 1990–2008 ..............................................................................4 2. Hispanic Principals and Hispanic Students in U.S. Public Schools ............................................6 3. Ethnic Student and Principal Populaton in Texas Public Schools, U.S. Principals.....................7 4. Gender of Principals, and Student Populaton, by Ethnicity, Texas ..........................................8 5. Dallas/Fort Worth Metropolitan Populaton by Racial/Ethnic Compositon ..........................48 6. Texas Principals by Ethnicity and Gender, 2009–2010 ...........................................................48 7. Student and Principal Demographics by Ethnicity for Dallas/Fort Worth Regions .................51 8. Student and Principal Demographics by Ethnicity for Texas School Districts...................52–53 9. Ficttous Names and Initals of Partcipants ..........................................................................54  Page

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LIST OF FIGURES 1. Hispanic populaton growth in the U.S., in millions .................................................................2 2. English language abilites of Hispanic students, by generaton (%) ..........................................5 3. Texas Educaton Service Center 10 ........................................................................................49 4. Texas Educaton Service Center 11 ........................................................................................50 Page

1 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION Scholarly research has been conducted on the forces behind the barriers which prevent Hispanic women from reaching the top of the public school ladder. These studies underline the importance of recognizing and addressing the barriers. Among the barriers which have been cited are a lack of family support, role models, mentors, and networking; the presence of an androcentric school organizaton, school boards, and the “good old boys” networks; women’s lack of educaton, administratve preparaton, and socializaton; and language, gender, and racial and ethnic diferences. Instead of focusing on these barriers, which hinder forward and upward career movement, this qualitatve study concentrates on the fact that many Hispanic women have not allowed these barriers to box them in or shut them out of achieving their goals of ataining the principalship at all levels, elementary, middle, and high school. This study proposes to examine the means by which successful Hispanic women principals overcame these insttutonal, racial and ethnic, language, and cultural barriers to achieve career success. This chapter discusss the background of the study, beginning with a discussion of changes in demographics and introduce the problem statement and research questons that serve as the framework for carrying out the research. Next, the chapter presents the signifcance of this study and summarizes the methodology used and the limitatons encountered. Background of the Study As leaders of their schools, principals place themselves in positons to inspire students to strive for an educaton so they can improve and beter their lives. With the growing Hispanic student populaton in the naton and in the state of Texas, the need to increase the numbers of successful Hispanic women principals becomes greater. It is vital that Hispanic students atain an educaton and are provided guidance and counseling toward college and university enrollment. The implicatons for which are an increase in the number of Hispanic high school graduates, college graduates, teachers, and principals. Results such as these afect the social and economic well-being of both individual students

2 and their families, for the present and future. Addit onally, these results will carry over to the educat onal and economic well-being of each state and the nat on as a whole. The Hispanic populat on of the United States has increased considerably in recent years. According to the U.S. Census Bureau (USCB, 2008b), from 1990 to 2000, the U.S. Hispanic populat on grew from 22.4 million to 35.3 million people, ref ect ng a 58% increase of this populat on in the United States. Figure 1 shows the stat st cs of this growth, plus this populat on’s projected growth through 2010. Figure 1. Hispanic populat on growth in the U.S., in millions.Adapted from U.S. Census Bureau report released February 2008 (USCB, 2008b). In their report ent tled, Hispanics: A People in Mot on, the Pew Hispanic Center (2005) researchers described the general distribut on of Hispanic students in public schools. They did this by grouping people within the regions of the country and the categories of states and also by grouping people by their generat onal descript on. First generat on students are those whose parents were both born in a foreign country. Second generat on Hispanic students are

3 those who have one parent born in a foreign country. Third generaton and higher are Hispanic students who, along with both their parents, were born in this country. The distributon of public school students refects the large growth and spread of the Hispanic populaton across the naton. The Pew Hispanic Center reports that the Hispanic populaton, rather than being localized into one or two areas or regions, instead resides in many parts of the United States. The Pew Hispanic Center assigns states with Hispanic populatons into categories. States which historically have had large Hispanic populatons are referred to as established states, and include Texas, California, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. There are newer states where Hispanic populatons have increased, and these states are referred to by the Pew Hispanic Center as new Hispanic states. These states are Florida, North Carolina, Nevada, Oregon, Georgia, Virginia, Massachusets, and Washington. A third category of states is grouped as emerging states, and consists of Indiana, Kansas, Maryland, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Utah, and Wisconsin. The last category consists of states that do not have a signifcant number of Hispanic students. This category of states is referred to as nonmagnet. These states are Alaska, Arkansas, Connectcut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Massachusets, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming. The number of Hispanic people in the United States contnues to grow. This growth is also refected in school enrollment. Table 1 presents the statstcs indicatng the growth in Hispanic enrollment at public schools in the United States. As a response to this populaton growth of Hispanic students, more Hispanic principals, in partcular women principals, need to be hired. In partcular, women principals are necessary because they can be more nurturing and caring. Additonally, Hispanic women principals can especially identfy with teenage girls, because they can relate to them in regard to their own parental upbringing; and they are well familiar with these parents’ values, and the ofen protectve nature that Hispanic parents feel

4 toward their daughters. With the increase in the Hispanic student populat on comes an increase in the number of students with limited English speaking ability, indicat ng a need for principals and teachers who speak Spanish. Table 1 U.S. Public School Enrollment, 1990–2008 (Numbers in thousands) Note. Adapted from Table A–4-1, “Number and percentage distribut on of the race/ethnicity of public school students enrolled in K–12 October 1988 through October 2008” from The Condit on of Educat on 2010 report by the Nat onal Center for Educat on Stat st cs (NCES, 2010), retrieved from ht p://nces.ed.gov/programs/coe/2010/ sect on1/table-1er-1.asp The Pew Hispanic Center researchers also describe the English language abilit es of Hispanic students, and these data are displayed in Figure 2 (Fry & Gonzales, 2008). They noted that seven out of 10 students speak a language other than English at home. As the Hispanic student populat on progresses from f rst to second and third-plus generat ons, Spanish spoken in the home decreases. Of the nearly 6.9 million Hispanic students in the nat on, the Pew Hispanic Center f nds that approximately 1.8 million have dif culty speaking English. With 7 out of 10 students speaking a language other than English, the inherent lack of English language dominance and result ng inability to understand and communicate with peers, teachers, and school administrators af ect the successful educat onal outcomes of Hispanic students. These data are displayed in Figure 2.

5 Figure 2.

English language abilit es of Hispanic students, by generat on (%).

A student is def ned as speaking English with dif culty if the student speaks a language other than English at home and speaks English less than “very well.” Adapted from the Pew Hispanic Center tabulat ons of the 2006 ACS (IPUMS 1% sample) (Fry & Gonzales, 2008). Hispanic students deal with issues of language, ethnicity, culture, and poverty. There is a great need to provide these students with role models and mentors with whom they can ident fy. Providing these students with Hispanic role models and mentors in the form of teachers, principals, and other administrat ve leaders who have an understanding of the Hispanic culture and language can fulf ll this requirement. Another essent al part of the educat on process is the involvement of parents. By increasing the number of Hispanic teachers and principals who speak the parents’ language and understand the Hispanic culture, the school will be in a bet er posit on to make the parents an integral partner in their children’s educat on. Speaking a language other than English should not be a deterrent for parental involvement in a child’s educat on. The school environment should be a place where parents are able to communicate in their nat ve language with teachers and principals. Through school–parental partnership, parents can know what the school expects their child to be learning and accomplishing. A partnership with Hispanic parents needs to be created as with any other parent who has a child enrolled in school. The informat on presented to this point shows the extensive populat on growth of Hispanics and Hispanic students in this country. However, stat st cs show that the same growth is not ref ected in Hispanic principals. The data in Table 2 show the distribut on of Hispanic

6 principals and students in U.S. public schools. In the Schools and Staf ng Survey from the U.S. Department of Educat on Nat onal Center for Educat on Stat st cs for 2003–2004 (NCES, 2004) for all public schools, 5.3% of the principals were Hispanic. This report also noted that 17.6% of students in all public schools were Hispanic. From the U.S. Department of Educat on’s Nat onal Center for Educat on Stat st cs and Staf ng Survey (SASS) Public School Principal Quest onnaire and Private School Principal Quest onnaire 1993–1994, 1999–2000, and 2003–2004, the Digest of Educat on Stat st cs cited that in 1993–1994, there were 3,270 Hispanic principals. Ten years later, in 2003–2004, there were 4,680 Hispanic principals. The stat st cs indicate that there is a shortage of Hispanic principals in comparison to the surging number of Hispanic students, as presented in Table 2 (NCES, 2004). Hence there is a dire need for more Hispanic principals to meet and address the unique needs of this Hispanic student populat on, both immigrant and nat ve-born. Table 2 Hispanic Principals and Hispanic Students in U.S. Public Schools Note. Adapted from SASS “Table 27: Percentage distribut on of school principals by race/ethnicity, percentage minority, school type, and selected school characterist cs: 2003–2004” (NCES, 2004), and The Condit on of Educat on 2010 report by the Nat onal Center for Educat on Stat st cs (NCES, 2010). Stat st cs for the Hispanic student populat on and principal count for the state of Texas, as in Table 3, also illustrate this discrepancy between the number of students enrolled and the number of principals of like race. As the Hispanic populat on in Texas has increased dramat cally, the student populat on has also increased; however, the number of Hispanic principals in elementary, middle, and high schools in Texas has not ref ected this change. Table 3 also

7 compares the number of Hispanic public school principals in Texas as reported by the Texas Educat on Agency (TEA), with the number of Hispanic public school principals nat onwide. Table 3 Ethnic Student and Principal Populat on in Texas Public Schools, U.S. Principals Note. Adapted from TEA “Enrollment in Texas Public Schools 2008–2009” (TEA, 2009), TEA (2010), and The Condit on of Educat on 2010 report by the Nat onal Center for Educat on Stat st cs (NCES, 2010). Espinoza-Herold (2003) conducted an open-ended quest onnaire in order to research Hispanic issues as they af ect students. The quest onnaire was given to teachers and administrators. One of the quest ons was: What qualit es/kinds of person are needed to address these issues? The prevailing response suggested that there was a need for more Hispanic teachers and administrators to serve as role models and mentors for the students. Another response implied that students would be able to relate to teachers and administrators who looked like them and could understand their language and their culture. The Hispanic student populat on in Texas during the 2008–2009 school year was approximately 47.9% of the total student populat on. The number of Hispanic principals, male and female, represented only 20.8%. The breakdown of male and female principals versus the student populat ons for the state of Texas is displayed in Table 4. Increasing the number of Hispanic principals, and female principals especially, in response to the number of Hispanic students, is crucial. Table 4 shows that only 13.2% of Texas principals are Hispanic females. Principals of Hispanic heritage can understand the culture and background of the students and their families, conquer any language barriers that might st ll exist with parents, and funct on as both role models and mentors for the Hispanic student

8 body. While these relat onships may be integral to the complete educat on of Hispanic students, the Hispanic females may face barriers and setbacks in trying to obtain these important administrat ve posit ons. Table 4 Gender of Principals, and Student Populat on, by Ethnicity, Texas Note. Adapted from “Enrollment in Texas Public Schools 2008–2009” (TEA, 2009) and TEA (2010). Before looking into how some Hispanic women achieved success in obtaining administrat ve leadership posit ons, there exists a need to understand how the barriers have come about, and in many instances how the barriers cont nue to present dif cult es for Hispanic women in their pursuit of administrat ve recognit on and promot on. Problem Statement The purpose of this study is to determine how Hispanic female school leaders overcame the barriers to their success and to gain insight into the lessons and strategies aspiring Hispanic female school leaders can learn from the experiences of these successful women. This study examined the following specif c research quest ons: 1. What factors have contributed to the success of Hispanic female school leaders? 2. What inst tut onal challenges did Hispanic female school leaders encounter?

9 3. What family challenges did Hispanic female school leaders encounter? 4. What personal challenges did Hispanic female school leaders encounter? 5. What strategies did Hispanic female school leaders employ to overcome the various barriers to success? 6. What advice do Hispanic female school leaders have for Hispanic females aspiring to leadership positons in K–12 schools? Professional Signifcance of the Study Very litle has been writen addressing the myriad of challenges and barriers that Hispanic women have had to overcome in obtaining the administratve positon of principal at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. In studying the successes of Hispanic women reaching their goal to be principals, other Hispanic women, and women as a group, can beneft by knowing how these women, as minorites, overcame and contnue to overcome barriers to becoming successful administrators. Overview of Methodology This phenomenological study was limited to informaton obtained from one-hour recorded personal interviews with 12 Hispanic female elementary, middle, and high school principals currently serving in public K–12 schools in school districts within the Dallas/Fort Worth area. I identfed partcipants for the study by searching the Web sites of neighboring school districts between Fort Worth and Dallas and from Fort Worth south to Alvarado to see if there were other school districts with Hispanic female principals and there were not. Informaton was also sought from the Texas Educaton Agency. Three school districts, Arlington Independent School District, Grand Prairie Independent School District, and Fort Worth Independent School District had a sufcient number of Hispanic females for this study. Of the total number of Hispanic female principals in these three school districts, a minimum of 25% or untl redundancy was reached, were interviewed. “Paton suggests that the ideal sampling is to keep selectng cases untl one reaches the point of

10 redundancy, that is, untl no new informaton is forthcoming” (Gall, Gall, & Borg, 2003, p. 181). In Arlington Independent School District there were three Hispanic female principals and all three were interviewed. In Grand Prairie there were two Hispanic female principals and both were interviewed. In Fort Worth Independent School District there were 22 Hispanic female school principals and 7 were interviewed. Permission to conduct the study was sought and obtained from assigned central administraton personnel of each of the school districts. Contact was made by email to each principal seeking her partcipaton in the research study. Once permission was granted, an invitaton leter (Appendix A) and an informed consent form (Appendix C) were sent to each of the Hispanic female principals. This researcher acted as the primary researcher to collect data through open-ended interview questons (Appendix B). Each interview was recorded and transcribed. Throughout the entre research process, eforts were made to protect the anonymity of the partcipants and their school districts. Names of the partcipants were replaced with codes. Moreover, the transcripts were carefully handled and kept under lock and key with the researcher’s university. Further in-depth informaton in the use of the interviews is discussed in Chapter 3. The methodology used for this study was phenomenology, which is the study of the world as it appears to individuals when they place themselves in a state of consciousness that refects an efort to be free of everyday biases and beliefs. As such, phenomenology shares the goal of other qualitatve research traditons to understand how individuals construct, and are constructed by, social reality (Gall et al., 2003). Delimitatons or Limitatons of the Study This study was limited to informaton contained in the success stories of 12 elementary, middle, and high school Hispanic female principals serving within three schools located in the Dallas/Fort Worth metropolitan area. The focus was on their lived experiences and the strategies each utlized to obtain and maintain their professional roles successfully. The limitatons of the study come from having an interview pool of only 12 Hispanic female principals. Only the

11 principals who agreed to partcipate were selected to be interviewed. In Arlington ISD, there were only three Hispanic female principals and all three agreed to be interviewed. In Grand Prairie ISD there were only two Hispanic female principals and both agreed to be interviewed. In Fort Worth ISD there were 22 Hispanic female principals and 7 agreed to be interviewed. Because the sample is small, the fndings cannot be generalized to all Hispanic females serving in these roles. This interview pool was compiled from the respondents list of principals from three school districts in the Dallas/Fort Worth metropolitan area, that of Fort Worth ISD, Arlington ISD, and Grand Prairie ISD. Summary Studies and census records show that the Hispanic populaton has been on the rise in the United States, increasing by more than half between 1990–2000 alone (USCB, 2008b). This in turn is leading to greater Hispanic student populatons throughout the United States and in Texas, as reported by the Natonal Center for Educatonal Statstcs (2010). Because school principals are looked upon as leaders of their schools and because there is also a need for them to serve as mentors and role models for their students, the necessary response to the Hispanic’s growth in populaton is to increase the numbers of successful Hispanic women principals. The needs of Hispanic students are varied as these students must face issues of language, ethnicity, culture, and poverty. Providing these students with Hispanic role models and mentors who understand and are personally familiar with the Hispanic culture and language can alleviate the disparity brought about by these issues and may help these students atain a more satsfactory educaton with beter opportunites. The literature review for this study revealed that very litle research has been done in regard to the barriers Hispanic women have overcome in their career aspiratons for the principalship at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. This research proposes to learn the means and strategies employed by successful Hispanic women in overcoming the obstacles and challenges that have prevented so many other Hispanic women from obtaining the same

12 administratve goal. This research seeks to impart the means these successful Hispanic principals used to overcome the barriers to success. Defniton of Terms • Barriers as defned by Merriam-Webster Online Dictonary (June 15, 2010), is something immaterial that impedes or separates. • Distant role model is defned my Mendez-Morse (2004) as someone who the partcipants knew of but with whom they did not interact directly. • Emerging Hispanic states as defned by the Pew Hispanic Center, are those that have had growth of greater than 200% among Hispanics but had a populaton increase of less than 200,000 Hispanics. • Established Hispanic states as defned by the Pew Hispanic Center, are those that have had growth of less than 200% among Hispanics but had a populaton increase of more than 200,000 Hispanics from 1980 to 2000. • First generaton students as defned by the Pew Hispanic Center, were born outside the United States, its territories, or possessions. These can include naturalized U.S. citzens, legal residents, or undocumented immigrants. This is also referred to as “foreign born” and “immigrants.” • Hispanic is defned by Merriam-Webster Online Dictonary (2010) as being of or pertaining to Spain or Spanish-speaking countries. • Latna as defned by Merriam-Webster Online Dictonary (June 15, 2010), is the feminine form of Latno, thus referring to a woman or girl. • Latno as defned by Merriam-Webster Online Dictonary (June 15, 2010), is a shortened form of Latno Americano, Latn American. The term refers to a (male) natve or inhabitant of Latn America, or to a person (male) of Latn-American origin living in the United States. • Mentor is defned by Mendez-Morse (2004) as someone who actvely helps, supports, or teaches someone else how to do a job so she will succeed.

13 • New Hispanic states as defned by the Pew Hispanic Center, are those that have had growth of more than 200% among Hispanics and an increase of 200,000 or more Hispanic residents over 1980–2000. • Nonmagnet Hispanic states as defned by the Pew Hispanic Center, have had a growth of less than 200% and less than 200,000 or more Hispanic residents over 1980–2000. • Phenomenology as defned by Gall, Gall, & Borg’s Educatonal Research: An Introducton (2003), is the study of the world as it appears to individuals when they place themselves in a state of consciousness that refects an efort to be free of everyday biases and beliefs. As such, phenomenology shares the goal of other qualitatve research traditons to understand how individuals construct, and are constructed by, social reality. Phenomenological researchers generally conduct at least one long interview with each partcipant in order to obtain a comprehensive descripton of their experience of the phenomenon being studied. The interview process is relatvely unstructured, but focused on elicitng all aspects of the experience. • Role model is defned by Mendez-Morse (2004) as someone whose characteristcs or traits another person would want to emulate. • Second generaton students as defned by the Pew Hispanic Center, are born in the United States with at least one foreign-born parent; U.S. citzens by birth; included in “natve-born” students. • Third and higher generaton students as defned by the Pew Hispanic Center, are born in the United States with both parents also born in the United States; U.S. citzens by birth; included in “natve-born” students.

Full document contains 114 pages
Abstract: Scholarly research has been written on the forces behind the barriers preventing Hispanic women from reaching the top of the public school ladder. These barriers are to be recognized and addressed. This study focuses not on the barriers which hinder forward and upward career movement, but instead examines how many Hispanic American women have not allowed these barriers to prevent them from achieving their goals of attaining the principalship. This study seeks to determine how Hispanic women principals came to grips with the challenges and barriers to promotion, and to success as K-12 school leaders. This qualitative research study consisted of 12 Hispanic female school principals from the Dallas/Fort Worth metropolitan area. The three districts selected were Fort Worth Independent School District, Arlington Independent School District, and Grand Prairie Independent School District. Three principals were from Grand Prairie Independent School District, two principals were from Arlington Independent School District, and seven principals were from the Fort Worth Independent School District. All of the 12 Hispanic school principals were interviewed. From the responses to each of the questions, themes became evident. The themes expressed what individual principals had done and the strategies they used to overcome the varied barriers which they confronted. The responses to the interview questions and the themes were very insightful and displayed the women's tenacity, courage, perseverance, and determination to succeed in their aspirations to become Hispanic female principals and leaders in their school districts.