Learning from the Experiences and Development of Latina School Leaders




Martinez, Melissa A.
Rivera, Marialena D.
Marquez, Jocabed

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Purpose: With the rise of the Latinx student population in the United States and the urgency to meet the needs of this diverse community, there has been an increased concern and interest in preparing more Latinx educators and school leaders. This study contributes to this knowledge base by centering the voices and experiences of four Latina school leaders in the United States. All of the school leaders were current or former school principals and/or assistant principals at the time of the study, with three being from Texas and one from California. Research Approach: Drawing on the methodological tenets of testimonio, this study asked: What are Latina school leaders’ professional experiences like, both positive and negative, given the intersectionality of their social identities? Utilizing intersectionality as a theoretical framework provided the means to analyze and understand Latina school leaders’ multiple social identities and the role that such identities played in their professional roles and career trajectories as school leaders within the larger context of educational politics and systemic inequities. Findings: Testimonios of participants centered on four themes related to how they confronted gender roles and expectations of motherhood, the criticality of mentorship, how they confronted and addressed racism and sexism, and harnessed bilingualism to empower self and others. Implications: Findings help inform those seeking to meet the needs of our growing Latinx student population, including school district administrators, current and upcoming school leaders, and those working to prepare a more diverse school leadership pipeline.



Latina principals, testimonios, principal experiences, principal development, Latina administrators, Latina school leaders, Counseling, Leadership, Adult Education, and School Psychology


Martinez, M. A., Rivera, M., & Marquez, J. (2019). Learning from the experiences and development of Latina school leaders. Educational Administration Quarterly, pp. 1-27.


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