Date of Award


Access Restriction


Degree Name

Doctorate in Education



School or College

School of Education

First Advisor

Marta Baltodano

Second Advisor

Jill Bickett

Third Advisor

Rebecca Herr Stephenson


The dissertation aims to explore a solution to address the cultural and racial gap between the teaching force and the student population in California. Homegrown teachers are teachers who return to their community where they were born and educated. Addressing the equity issues faced in public schools begins with exploring the benefits of teachers of color in the classroom.

This action research study followed five homegrown first-generation Latina teachers through a 3-month process of mentoring first-generation Latina sixth-graders who hope of entering the teaching profession in the future. The study was guided by critical pedagogy, a mentoring framework, the critical mentoring strategy in addition to social capital theory.

This dissertation documented the voices of the participants as they developed their mentoring relationship in the early intervention teacher pipeline. The challenges and experiences were documented through observations, researcher’s reflection, semistructured interviews, and a focus group.

The study revealed that, with appropriate preparation, students of color are more likely to choose a teaching career and return to their community to become homegrown teachers. The emerging themes of the study were that (a) culture and language shaped the mentoring relationship, (b) homegrown teachers were essential to mentoring students of color, (c) for Latinos, education was a family journey, (d) socializing students of color into career aspirations, (e) acculturation into the teaching profession—learning to become a teacher, and (f) time and gender were the major constraints; redefining future mentoring relationships.

This action research revealed the many benefits for teachers and students to develop critical mentoring relationships.

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