Date of Award

Summer 7-2016

Access Restriction


Degree Name

Doctorate in Education



School or College

School of Education

First Advisor

Elizabeth Reilly

Second Advisor

Franca Dell'Olio

Third Advisor

Maurice Ghysels


As school enrollments across the United States include increasing numbers of students of color, the number of administrators of color remains disproportionate. In California school districts, where a large percentage of students are Latino and Latina, Latino and Latina principals remain rare. While studies have suggested why Latinos and Latinas do not enter educational leadership, fewer have examined why they do elect to enter the field. This ethnographic exploratory study examines factors that led Latino and Latina educators to enter administrative leadership preparation programs with the goal of becoming school principals. The sample includes interviews with seven Latino and Latina elementary school principals from a large urban school district in California. The study uses Freire’s concepts of banking, conscientization, and praxis as a lens to synthesize the findings. The investigation provides insight regarding how school districts and colleges of education can consider targeted recruitment of Latino and Latina leaders to increase the candidate pool for educational leadership and close the disproportionate ethnic gap between who attends California public schools and who leads them. The research proposes a possible working model for the development, recruitment and growth of the leadership pipeline in California schools. Lastly, this study is a call to action for Latinos and Latinas to consider becoming active participants in the narrative that defines them in the educational landscape of the United States. Issues of race, gender, socio-economic status, language, politics, and immigration are discussed as factors that contribute to the development of Latinos and Latinas in school leadership.