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Title:“Rosas y Espinas” Counter stories of Illinois Latina educational leaders
Author(s):Reyes Childress, Beatrice
Director of Research:Welton, Anjalé
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Welton, Anjalé
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Pak, Yoon; Herrmann, Mary; González , Mónica; Hood, Denice
Department / Program:Educ Policy, Orgzn & Leadrshp
Discipline:Educ Policy, Orgzn & Leadrshp
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Keywords: Latina leaders, Latinx administrators, Latinx educational leadership, Latinx educators
Abstract:For decades, researchers have studied the need for students to have educators that reflect their same ethnic backgrounds. Despite the many known benefits of having culturally diverse educators, the field of education has a huge demographic divide between the rapidly growing PreK-12 Latinx student population and its educational leaders. Currently, there is very little published research that highlights the factors that contribute to PreK-12 Latina educational leaders successfully navigating the education system and moving up the hierarchy. In fact, there is no published research on Latinx leaders serving in Illinois school districts despite its large Latinx student population. The purpose of this qualitative research study was to examine the counterstories of Latina educational leaders serving in Illinois PreK-8 and PreK-12 school districts. The twelve research participants interviewed included an assistant superintendent, a chief academic officer, three central office directors, six principals and one assistant principal. In particular, this study focused on the experiences and beliefs that motivated the Latinas to enter into leadership roles, the challenges they have encountered, as well as what factors have assisted them in navigating the leadership hierarchy. Latino critical race theory (LatCRT) and intersectionality between race and gender were utilized to frame and demonstrate factors that impacted Latinas entering educational leadership roles as well as their ability to elevate into higher levels of leadership. The findings from this study demonstrated that the leaders highly value education and strongly believe that ethnic representation in education matters which proved to be a prominent factor motivating these women to pursue educational leadership roles. All of the leaders demonstrated examples of resilience and perseverance throughout their lives overcoming a number of obstacles and discrimination in their journey to become administrators. Due to their lived experiences, the Latina leaders understand the complex intersectionality between race, culture, poverty, and gender and how it impacts Latinx students and parents. The following themes emerged as aiding Latina leaders in their navigation of the administrative hierarchy: positive relationships with supervisors, networks, programs, organizations, financial supports, mentors, and their own personal characteristics. This research highlights how the Latinx education crisis encompasses more than just the underperformance of Latinx students but it also includes the underrepresentation of Latinx educational leaders, a demographic divide that will continue to grow if it is not addressed systematically. In order to improve the educational system for the diverse population of students it serves, Illinois institutions and organizations must make a concerted effort to challenge the status quo by focusing on increasing diversity in educational leadership.
Issue Date:2021-04-23
Rights Information:Copyright 2021 Beatrice Reyes Childress
Date Available in IDEALS:2021-09-17
Date Deposited:2021-05

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