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Latinas breaking through the adobe ceiling: A portraiture study of Latina superintendents in the state of California

Dissertation
Author: Pauline Sue Garcia
Abstract:
Purpose of the Study . The purpose of the study was to identify and compare the personal, cultural, and professional experiences, barriers, motivations, role models, leadership skills, career paths, and other factors that were perceived as having contributed to the success of Latinas in the superintendency in the state of California. A second purpose was to offer lessons learned that these successful Latinas have for other aspiring Latinas. Methodology . The subjects in the study were 17 current successful Latina superintendents. Subjects responded to a telephone interview guide regarding their personal, cultural, and professional experiences, barriers, motivations, role models, leadership skills, career paths, and other factors that were perceived as having contributed to the success. Qualitative methods were utilized and data were reported through narrative storytelling. Themes were identified. Findings . Women had experienced support and encouragement from parent, family member, school teacher/professor, and mentor relationships. Academic proficiencies, leadership attributes, professional development, advancement opportunities, and career paths had contributed to their success. All had not aspired to the superintendency. Most had worked in bilingual and migrant education. Most had been appointed into administration positions. Major advice offered included: obtaining a mentor, obtaining appropriate degrees, certificates, and advanced degrees, and acquiring various experiences. They shared more common personal, cultural, and professional experiences, barriers, motivations, role models, leadership skills, and career paths than differences. Conclusions . Latina superintendents were successful when they received familial support, school personnel support, mentoring, acquiring various personal, cultural and professional experiences, and obtaining appropriate educational credentials, degrees, and advanced degrees. Recommendations . Further research is advised. Studies on current Latinos and Latinas in educational leadership about balancing work and family; analyzing the obstacles they encounter in administration; analyzing the motivation factors; and analyzing the differences in leadership style. Additionally, studies comparing the differences between Latinas who entered educational leadership prior to 2000 with those who have since; analyzing their leadership styles, analyzing the perceptions of Latinas as leaders and their effectiveness; and analyzing best practices of Latina led schools identified by AYP.

CONTENTS

Page

ABSTRACT ............................................................................................................... iv

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ....................................................................................... x

DEDICATION ........................................................................................................... xiii

Chapter

I. THE PROBLEM .............................................................................................. 1 Introduction ............................................................................................... 1 Purpose Statement ..................................................................................... 5 Research Questions ................................................................................... 5 Significance of the Study .......................................................................... 8 Delimitations ............................................................................................. 8 Definitions of Terms ................................................................................. 9 Organization of the Study ......................................................................... 10 II. REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE ................................................................. 11 Introduction ............................................................................................... 11 Purpose of the Study ................................................................................. 13 Research Questions ................................................................................... 14 General Introduction ................................................................................. 17 Cultural Factors ......................................................................................... 19 Family Factors ........................................................................................... 22 Mentors and Coaches ................................................................................ 30

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Academic Preparation ............................................................................... 38 Barriers to Progress in Higher Education .......................................... 38 Accessing Higher Education for Latina/o Students ........................... 43 Latinas in Undergraduate Programs ................................................... 44 Latinas in Graduate Programs ............................................................ 45 Personal Ambition ..................................................................................... 46 Personal Resiliency ................................................................................... 50 Personal Barriers ....................................................................................... 53 Professional Barriers ................................................................................. 57 Advancement Opportunities...................................................................... 62 Career Path Summary ............................................................................... 65 Professional Development ........................................................................ 66 Professional Leadership Attributes ........................................................... 69 History of the Superintendency ......................................................... 69 Leadership Skills ................................................................................ 70 Summary of the Literature Review ........................................................... 74 III. METHODOLOGY .......................................................................................... 76 Introduction ............................................................................................... 76 Purpose Statement ..................................................................................... 76 Research Questions ................................................................................... 76 Research Design ........................................................................................ 79 Population ................................................................................................. 80

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Instrumentation ......................................................................................... 81 Instrument Validation................................................................................ 81 Data Collection Procedures ....................................................................... 82 The Interview ............................................................................................ 82 Data Analysis ............................................................................................ 83 Limitations ................................................................................................ 83 IV. FINDINGS OF THE STUDY ........................................................................ 85 Introduction ............................................................................................... 85 Purpose Statement ..................................................................................... 85 Research Questions ................................................................................... 85 Data Analysis and Findings ...................................................................... 88 Superintendent 1 ................................................................................ 88 Superintendent 2 ................................................................................ 96 Superintendent 3 ................................................................................ 107 Superintendent 4 ................................................................................ 115 Superintendent 5 ................................................................................ 122 Superintendent 6 ................................................................................ 130 Superintendent 7 ................................................................................ 140 Superintendent 8 ................................................................................ 149 Superintendent 9 ................................................................................ 158 Superintendent 10 .............................................................................. 165 Superintendent 11 .............................................................................. 172

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Superintendent 12 .............................................................................. 182 Superintendent 13 .............................................................................. 190 Superintendent 14 .............................................................................. 197 Superintendent 15 .............................................................................. 206 Superintendent 16 .............................................................................. 218 Superintendent 17 .............................................................................. 227 Findings for Research Question 6 ...................................................... 240 Summary of Data Analysis ....................................................................... 243 V. SUMMARY OF FINDINGS, CONCLUSIONS, AND RECOMMENDATIONS ............................................................................... 244

Introduction ............................................................................................... 244 Purpose Statement .............................................................................. 244 Research Questions ............................................................................ 245 Summary of Major Findings ..................................................................... 248 Research Question 1 .......................................................................... 248 Research Question 2 .......................................................................... 249 Research Question 3 .......................................................................... 249 Research Question 4 .......................................................................... 250 Research Question 5 .......................................................................... 251 Research Question 6 .......................................................................... 251 Research Question 7 .......................................................................... 254 Conclusions ............................................................................................... 256 Recommendations for Further Study ........................................................ 258

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Summary of Findings ................................................................................ 260 Additional Comments ............................................................................... 268 REFERENCES .......................................................................................................... 270 APPENDICES ........................................................................................................... 282 A. LETTER TO SUBJECTS .............................................................................. 283 B. INTERVIEW GUIDE .................................................................................... 286 C. INTERVIEW MATRIX................................................................................. 288 D. IRB APPROVAL LETTER ........................................................................... 290

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I would like to first thank my husband, Damian. You have been so supportive of me throughout my life. You believed in me when I did not believe in myself. You are my best friend, my confidant, and you are the love of my life. I would also like to thank my beautiful children: Paulina, Damian Jr., and Nicholas. You have been so patient with me throughout this journey. I know that it has been hard for all of you and I have missed you very much. I love you all with all my heart, body, and soul. I would not have happiness in my life without all of you to share it with. I would like to thank my mother, Gloria Molinar, who was my first role model. Mom, you have worked so hard your whole life. I appreciate the sacrifices you have made for me and the family. You are a strong woman and a survivor. I have learned so much by watching you live your life. You have demonstrated your expectations of me by your actions. I would not be the person I am today without you having been my mom. Thank you for helping me with the babies while I was working, going to school, and writing my dissertation. They love their Nana very much. I would also like to thank my sister Lisa, who has been like a second mother to me. Lisa, you are a great big sister. You have always been supportive of me through my educational goals. Thank you for being there for me when I needed someone to talk to.

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I admire your strength and courage. Thank you for watching my children while I went to school and worked on my dissertation. Additionally, I would like to thank my in-laws, Gerry and Mary Garcia. Mary, you have taken care of my angels while I was working, going to school, and writing my dissertation. You love my children as if they are your own. I never have to worry about their well-being when they are with you or Gerry. Gerry, you are like a father to me. I appreciate your words of encouragement and guidance. You have a special place in my heart. I would also like to thank my dissertation chair, Dr. Lawrence Kemper, who has been very patient with me. You have guided, encouraged, and supported me. You provided me with the words I needed to hear to keep going. I am honored to have been able to work with you. Thank you. I would like to thank my dissertation committee, Dr. Maria Armstrong and Dr. Michael Chavez. Both of you have been patient with me through this process. You were still willing to assist me despite the fact that I was unsure and extended the time of this process. You are role models to me and to the students you serve. I would like to thank the Perris Union High School District Administration. All of you have been very supportive of me. I would especially like to thank Dr. Jonathan Greenberg, my superintendent, for his ongoing support and encouragement. You are a very genuine person who encourages others to do well. I have always appreciated you greeting me with, “the future Dr. Garcia.” It gave great encouragement. I would also

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like to thank my mentors Steve Spraker, assistant superintendent, and Lynne Sheffield, principal, for their guidance and support. I would also like to thank the California Latino Superintendent Association (CALSA) for their support and endorsement of this study. Thank you for the encouragement and motivation you offer to the future leaders. Finally, I would like to thank the 17 Latina superintendents who participated in this study. It has been a wonderful experience to have spoken to all of you. I have gained so much from this experience. I did not know what to expect as I entered the researcher role. I became hopeful, stronger, determined, motivated, and inspired after each interview. I often explained to others that I wish I had known you while growing up. Thank you for being role models and mentors to those who aspire to be like you. Your words and messages are engrained in my heart forever.

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DEDICATION

I dedicate this dissertation first to my husband, Damian, for always believing in me. You are the love of my life; and secondly, to my three children: Paulina, Damian Jr., and Nicholas, follow your dreams, the possibilities are endless. Lastly, I dedicate this dissertation to my mom, Gloria Molinar, who is a strong, brave and courageous woman. I love you all dearly.

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CHAPTER I

THE PROBLEM

Introduction

The number of Latina teachers in the public school system is growing (Quilantan & Menchaca-Ochoa, 2004). However, Quilantan and Menchaca-Ochoa posit that positions Latinas employed in the public school systems are teaching positions, not those of leadership and that the number of Latina superintendents is “disproportionate to the number” of Latino teachers (p. 124). According to Méndez-Morse (1999), “a 1982 American Association of School Administrators’ national survey found that there were four Latina superintendents (0.1 percent of all superintendents) in the United States” (p. 125). The number of Latina superintendents has increased since the report. According to the California Latino Superintendent Association (CALSA), there are currently 19 Latina superintendents in the state of California. According to CALSA, Latinas make up 1.3% of the superintendencies in the state of California while their White female counterparts comprise 28% (California Department of Education, 2004). Cahoon stated that “the term superintendent is generally accepted as being an inherently male attribute” (as cited in McLean, 2006, p. 2). Méndez-Morse (1999) stated that “the superintendency is synonymous with white male educational leadership” (p. 138). Méndez-Morse (1999) further states that studies about women in educational

2 administration suggest that the concept of educational leadership has been “constructed by generalizations of gender attributes that define leadership” (p. 138). Historically, the reasons for Latinas’ underrepresentation in school administration, specifically the superintendency, included: Women are more likely to consider the principalship as the ultimate position to hold, females are less likely to have sponsorship and les likely to advance, women’s educational and work experiences may not include the areas most likely to appeal to search committees and school board members, organizations consisting of a larger number of male administrators may not have access to information of capable Latinas, and finally, since the search and selection focus on matching the district, a Hispanic female being personally preferred is remote at best. (Ortiz, 1999, pp. 91-92)

Current reasons “focus on personal and professional experiences” (McLean, 2005, p. 3), which include a need for increased “support systems; role models, mentors, networks, and family support” (p. 3). Quilantan and Menchaca-Ochoa (2004) studied 11 Latina superintendents in Texas and identified common personal strengths concentrated in two main areas: “self- identity and coping skills” (p. 126). The women promoted a “dualism of their self- identities” (p. 126). They were able to “maintain both personal and professional expectations, which allowed them to set dualistic goals” (p. 126). The goals included “raising families and achieving high level positions in the public education system” (p. 126). Others shared personal traits that these Latina superintendents had in common focused on “displaying professional competence” (Quilantan & Menchaca-Ochoa, 2004, p. 125) which “entailed earning degrees and certifications, amassing work experiences, outperforming others, demonstrating organizational skills, mentoring, and being

3 bilingual. . . . To be considered for promotions, women have had to have appropriate credentials” (p. 125). Quilantan and Menchaca-Ochoa reported that “of the ten participants, four had doctoral degrees and six had master’s degrees” (p. 125). Latinas entering the superintendency are faced with several barriers, such as “the good-old-boy network, the glass ceiling, career mobility, isolation, protection of privacy, and stereotypical sex-role expectations” (Quilantan & Menchaca-Ochoa, 2004, p. 126). In addition, Latinas are expected to remain “docile and subservient” (p. 124). Gil and Vasquez (1996) stated that “tradition and culture dictate certain behaviors that Latinas must display in their personal and professional lives” (as cited in Quilantan & Menchaca- Ochoa, 2004, p. 124). Further, Walker and Barton (1983) stated that such behaviors as “passivity, submissiveness, and reluctance to compete with the opposite gender” (as cited in Quilantan & Menchaca-Ochoa, 2004, p. 124), influence career paths in the workforce. Still, other barriers Hispanic women superintendents encounter are “gender expectations, ethnic stereotyping, and lack of sponsorship” (Mendez-Morse, 1999, p. 126). According to Quilantan and Menchaca-Ochoa (2004), the Latina is “evolving,” as she is introduced to “challenging positions and circumstances,” she is forced to adapt to survive (p. 124). According to Quilantan and Menchaca-Ochoa (2004), there is a discrepancy between Latinos and Latinas who acquire the superintendency. The discrepancy is a result of the differences in career paths for Latinas versus Latinos striving for the top post position. Quilantan and Menchaca-Ochoa posits that by “age twenty-seven, men begin to position themselves for the superintendency by acquiring assistant principal positions” (p. 124). Women on the other hand transition themselves in their early thirties. Women are

4 more successful in administration at the elementary level versus the secondary level. Quilantan and Menchaca-Ochoa (2004) state, however, that administration at the secondary level is more attractive when attempting to acquire a superintendency position. As a result, it is difficult for women to promote. According to Manuel and Slate (2003), the factors that encourage Latinas in pursuit of the superintendency are; self, colleagues, and spouse. Méndez-Morse (1999) describes a three step “redefinition process” in entering the superintendency for Latinas (p. 127). First, was “an event” that occurred early in Latinas’ administration career (p. 127). During this phase, Latinas proved themselves “capable of accomplishing a self imposed qualifying task that demonstrated their leadership abilities” (p. 127). The second phase involved “a conscious and deliberate decision to become a superintendent, a public proclamation of competence and a validation resulting from being hired as the primary administrator” (p. 127). The final phase in the process was an “alteration of how they were perceived by others and how they viewed the district leadership position” (p. 127). While Latinas have begun to advance to the superintendency, literature on Latina superintendents is sketchy (Méndez-Morse, 1999). Some would argue that low numbers justify the neglect in the research. However, the low numbers should signify the importance of researching Latinas’ success in attaining the superintendency. Méndez- Morse further states that “learning about the experiences of Latina superintendents contributes to understanding how minority women have become superintendents” (p. 126).

5 Despite increasing numbers of Latina superintendents (19), there is still a numerical discrepancy between Latino male superintendents with 75 (CALSA, 2005). As research on Latina superintendents increases, little is known about the personal, cultural, and professional experiences, barriers, motivations, role models, leadership skills, career paths, and other factors that have contributed to their success in the state of California.

Purpose Statement

The purpose of the study was to identify and compare the personal, cultural, and professional experiences, barriers, motivations, role models, leadership skills, career paths, and other factors that Latina superintendents perceive as having contributed to their success in the superintendency in the state of California. A second purpose was to offer lessons learned that these successful Latinas have for other aspiring Latinas.

Research Questions

The following research questions were developed for this study: 1. What personal cultural factors did California Latina superintendents perceive as having contributed to their success? a) Personal ambition b) Personal resiliency c) Family factors d) Cultural factors e) Mentors and coaches

6 f) Other 2. What professional factors did California Latina superintendents perceive as having contributed to their success? a) Academic preparation b) Personal professional leadership attributes c) Professional development opportunities d) Mentors and coaches e) Advancement opportunities f) Other 3. What personal and professional barriers did California Latina superintendents face in their pursuit of the superintendency? a) Cultural b) Family c) Discrimination d) Sexism e) Academic preparation f) Financial g) Physical h) Other 4. What personal and professional barriers did California Latina superintendents face in the course of their superintendencies? a) Cultural

7 b) Family c) Discrimination d) Sexism e) Financial f) Physical g) Other 5. What career paths did California Latina superintendents take on their journey to the superintendency? 6. What similarities and differences were found among California Latina superintendents? a) Personal ambition b) Personal resiliency c) Family factors d) Cultural factors e) Mentors and coaches f) Academic preparation g) Personal professional leadership attributes h) Professional development opportunities i) Advancement opportunities j) Career paths to the superintendency k) Other

8 7. What lessons learned did these Latinas superintendents have to offer other aspiring Latinas aspiring to the superintendency? a) Personal factors b) Leadership factors c) Cultural factors d) Discrimination factors e) Professional growth factors f) Familial factors g) Sexism factors h) Other

Significance of the Study

The study provides an opportunity to “explore and examine” the lives of Latina superintendents through their voice. The women selected in this study described their journey to the superintendency through their words, their eyes, and their feelings. Lastly, the study will assist Latinas aspiring to the superintendency. It offers suggestions for support and understanding of family, friends, and loved ones. Finally, it demonstrates to the daughters of Latinas, that attainment of any goal is possible.

Delimitations

1. This study was delimited to the whole population of practicing Latina public school superintendents in California. There are 19 currently practicing. 2. Each participant was presumed to have answered questions thoroughly and honestly.

9 3. The study took place during the time period of April 2006 through June 2008.

Definitions of Terms

The following are definitions of terms used in this study: Barriers. Obstacles that hinder career advancement to the next level in management. CALSA. California Latino Superintendent Association. Discrimination/racism. Making a difference or distinction in treatment with prejudiced attitudes that causes a discrimination behavior. Familism. “Latina/o youth respect parental authority, recognizing the sacrifices made for their families’ survival, and honor their struggles” (Cammarota, 2008, p. 17). Latino/a. Mexican Americans, native-born Americans of Mexican origin. Mentor. “A mentor is “someone with more experience and expertise helping someone with less experience and expertise” (Feiman-Nemser, 2006, p. xi). Resiliency. The ability to bounce back, recover, self-right, and successfully adapt following exposure to stressful life events, and successfully cope with risks and adversity. Superintendent. “This individual is the chief executive officer (CEO) of the school system” (McLean, 2006, p. 15). Underrepresentation. Refers to the situation in which “significantly fewer persons of a particular grouping are in a particular job category than might be expected” (McLean, 2006, p. 15)

10 Organization of the Study

Chapter I introduced the underrepresentation of Latinas in the public school superintendency. This chapter stated the problem that will be assessed throughout the study. The purpose of the study was identified, and specific research questions were discussed. The significance of the study was presented and delimitations were outlined. In addition, terms were identified for clarification. Chapter II provides the literature review as it relates to Latinas in the superintendency. Educational theories about Latinas in the superintendency are examined. Also, research is presented of Latinas in the field of education, administration, and the superintendency. Finally, this chapter reviews the personal, cultural, and professional experiences, barriers, motivations, role models, leadership skills, career paths, and other factors that Latina superintendents perceive as having contributed to their success in the superintendency in the state of California. Chapter III reviews the purpose statement and research questions. In addition, it presents the methodology of the study. Chapter III reviews the type of research, the research design, the population, the instrumentation, the data collection procedures, data analysis, and limitations of the study. Chapter IV presents the findings and analysis of the data of each individual research subject as it relates to the research questions gathered through the individual in- depth interviews. Chapter V summarizes the findings and conclusions of the study. In addition, it presents recommendations for action and implications for further research.

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CHAPTER II

REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE

Introduction

According to Gaskins (2006), the underrepresentation of women in administration has been a focus of study for several decades or centuries. Further, in the field of education, Gaskins states that women in administrative positions at the elementary level have increased. Shakeshaft (1989) stated that studies have shown that males are dominant in all leadership roles except that of elementary principal. According to Gaskins (2006), ―the 2000 representation of women and racial minorities in school administration‖ (p. 31) has increased since 2003. According to Dataquest (an information system designed and maintained by the California Department of Education), the numbers of racial minority educational administrators, specifically numbers of Latinas in administration were greater than American Indian, Asian, Pacific Islander, and African American women, but lower than White women. In 2005-2006 data indicated that there were 2,385 Latina administrators and 2,023 Latino administrators. In 2006-2007 data indicated that there were 2,593 Latina administrators and 2,207 Latino administrators. In 2007-2008, data indicated there were 2,771 Latina administrators and 2,299 Latino administrators. In 2008-2009, data indicated that there were 2,747 Latina administrators and 2,255 Latino administrators (California Department of Education, 2009). Although Dataquest did not differentiate between administrative

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levels, results suggest that there is an increase in Latina administrators over the past 3 years with a slight decline in the 2008-2009 school years. CALSA (California Latino Superintendent Association) reported that there were 75 Latino superintendents in the state of California in the year 2006, 19 of whom were Latina. This review of the literature is limited to studies of women in administration, particularly Caucasian and Latino. Further this study focused on the factors that California Latina superintendents perceived as having contributed to their success. There were limited data on Latinas in the areas of personal and professional barriers, resiliency, personal ambition, professional leadership attributes, and professional development. There were also limited data on the comparison of Caucasians, Latinas, Asians, African Americans, or any other female group. Hoeveler and Boles (2001) suggested that women of color had an increased interest in the varying perspectives of women‘s issues. Gaskins concluded that such interest leads to a need for ―a more broadened scope of the search net to include ethnicity and gender perspectives,‖ but also ―for more refinement of the library resources search process‖ (pp. 32-33). Gaskins (2006) further claimed that authors have suggested that there is minimal research addressing the underrepresentation of women and racial minorities in the field of educational administration. Weiler (2000) indicated that an understanding of the unique situations minority women face is essential in order to offer support to those who have acquired leadership positions and to those who aspire to them.

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Yearkey, Johnston, and Adkinson (1986) summarized three problems with research regarding minorities and women: 1. There has been a general lack of attention given to research and the development of theories directly related to racial minorities and women as they function in organizations and society. 2. The structure of research designs has caused the omission of these women and racial minorities from research samples, has ignored the racial and sexual component of the research sample, or has evaluated women and minorities only by the degree to which their behavior deviated from the Caucasian male model. 3. There has been an inaccurate assumption that adequate explanations of organizational structures can be found within the organization itself and, therefore, the research has not looked to society, culture, and other potential variables. (as cited in Gaskins, 2006, p. 33)

As a result, this study focuses on the family factors, cultural factors, academic preparation, professional development, leadership attributes, mentors and coaches, personal and professional barriers, and career advancement of women in comparison to Latina women. The focus of this study was on perceived factors that contributed to the success of California Latina superintendents. Chapter II represents the literature review and the chapter is divided into the following areas: family factors, cultural factors, academic preparation, professional development, leadership attributes, mentors and coaches, personal and professional barriers, and career advancement of Caucasian women and Latinas.

Purpose of the Study The purpose of the study was to identify and compare the personal, cultural, and professional experiences, barriers, motivations, role models, leadership skills, career paths, and other factors that Latina superintendents perceive as having contributed to

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their success in the superintendency in the state of California. A second purpose was to offer lessons learned that these successful Latinas have for other aspiring Latinas.

Research Questions The study was designed to answer the following questions:

1. What personal cultural factors did California Latina superintendents perceive as having contributed to their success? a) Personal ambition b) Personal resiliency c) Family factors d) Cultural factors e) Mentors and coaches f) Other 2. What professional factors did California Latina superintendents perceive as having contributed to their success? a) Academic preparation b) Personal professional leadership attributes c) Professional development opportunities d) Mentors and coaches e) Advancement opportunities f) Other 3. What personal and professional barriers did California Latina superintendents face in their pursuit of the superintendency?

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a) Cultural b) Family c) Discrimination d) Sexism e) Academic preparation f) Financial g) Physical h) Other 4. What personal and professional barriers did California Latina superintendents face in the course of their superintendencies? a) Cultural b) Family c) Discrimination d) Sexism e) Financial f) Physical g) Other 5. What career paths did California Latina superintendents take on their journey to the superintendency? 6. What similarities and differences were found among California Latina superintendents? a) Personal ambition

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b) Personal resiliency c) Family factors d) Cultural factors e) Mentors and coaches f) Academic preparation g) Personal professional leadership attributes h) Professional development opportunities i) Advancement opportunities j) Career paths to the superintendency k) Other 7. What lessons learned did these Latinas superintendents have to offer other aspiring Latinas aspiring to the superintendency? a) Personal factors b) Leadership factors c) Cultural factors d) Discrimination factors e) Professional growth factors f) Familial factors g) Sexism factors h) Other

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General Introduction

There is much discussion over the role Latinas play at home, work, education, and the community. Many have debated the issue of the Latino family characteristic machismo. Toro-Morn (2008) stated that ―social scientists and popular writers have endorsed and applied a duality that depicts Latino men as strong, tough, virile ‗machos‘ and women as passive, docile, and submissive‖ (p. 279). Toro-Morn further claimed that these characteristics are ―blanket assessments and evaluations‖ without ―empirical evidence to support them‖ (p. 279). In fact, Toro-Morn espouses that the idea of the machismo of Latino men has been used to explain the lack of changes in the Latino family. Similarly, Garza (2001) contended that the term machismo is far worse than a racist term because it is recognized as a scholarly finding by many social scientists, including Latinos. Garza further espoused that the term machismo is just as damaging to Latinas as it is to Latinos. He contended that there is ―no special domineering behavior applicable to Latino men only or submissive behavior applicable to Latina women only‖ (p. 15; also referenced in Toro-Morn, 2008). Subsequently, Garza (2001) believes that sexism is present in all cultures and decreases when under the pressure of women‘s organized social movements. Other researchers, such as Garcia (2004), suggested that Latina youth are indeed confronting and contesting patriarchal constraints. Garcia stated that second-generation Mexican American women ―experienced a combination of ethnic and gender-specific obstacles within their families, specifically with their fathers‖ (p. 111). However, he

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stated that not all Mexican immigrant families are the same. Garcia (2002) explained that ―differences exist based on time of immigration to the United States, region of Mexico, number of family members, social class, occupation, education, and other similar social factors‖ (p. 101). Nonetheless, studies have shown that Latinas experience many barriers and other factors in their lives that may prevent them from advancing at work, home, education, and within the community. Studies have shown that Latinas have grappled with economic hardships, male domination, sexist oppression inequity in education, violence (Cammarota, 2008), and stereotypes (Villenas, 2006a, 2006b). How, then have Latinas overcome such obstacles? The Chicana movement was one of the pivotal moments of the change surrounding the Latina. This movement developed during the late 1960s, which focused on eliminating patriarchy found within the emergence of the Chicano movement (Segura & Pesquera, 2001). Latina voices began to be heard in studies and surveys regarding family and the role of the woman. For example, the women of MALCS (Mujeres Activas en Letras y Cambio Social), an organization in higher education, declared their formation as ―being women involved in higher education . . . concerned with the conditions women face at work, in and out of the home‖ (Seguera & Pesquera, 2001, n.p.). In recent years many studies and documentations have surfaced describing Latinas at home, work, in the community, and in education. The literature documents the success of many Latinas in U.S. history. For instance, Dr. Antonia Coello Novello, ―who holds the distinction of being the first female and first Latina to be appointed surgeon

Full document contains 306 pages
Abstract: Purpose of the Study . The purpose of the study was to identify and compare the personal, cultural, and professional experiences, barriers, motivations, role models, leadership skills, career paths, and other factors that were perceived as having contributed to the success of Latinas in the superintendency in the state of California. A second purpose was to offer lessons learned that these successful Latinas have for other aspiring Latinas. Methodology . The subjects in the study were 17 current successful Latina superintendents. Subjects responded to a telephone interview guide regarding their personal, cultural, and professional experiences, barriers, motivations, role models, leadership skills, career paths, and other factors that were perceived as having contributed to the success. Qualitative methods were utilized and data were reported through narrative storytelling. Themes were identified. Findings . Women had experienced support and encouragement from parent, family member, school teacher/professor, and mentor relationships. Academic proficiencies, leadership attributes, professional development, advancement opportunities, and career paths had contributed to their success. All had not aspired to the superintendency. Most had worked in bilingual and migrant education. Most had been appointed into administration positions. Major advice offered included: obtaining a mentor, obtaining appropriate degrees, certificates, and advanced degrees, and acquiring various experiences. They shared more common personal, cultural, and professional experiences, barriers, motivations, role models, leadership skills, and career paths than differences. Conclusions . Latina superintendents were successful when they received familial support, school personnel support, mentoring, acquiring various personal, cultural and professional experiences, and obtaining appropriate educational credentials, degrees, and advanced degrees. Recommendations . Further research is advised. Studies on current Latinos and Latinas in educational leadership about balancing work and family; analyzing the obstacles they encounter in administration; analyzing the motivation factors; and analyzing the differences in leadership style. Additionally, studies comparing the differences between Latinas who entered educational leadership prior to 2000 with those who have since; analyzing their leadership styles, analyzing the perceptions of Latinas as leaders and their effectiveness; and analyzing best practices of Latina led schools identified by AYP.