School of Education


Doctor of Education (EdD)


Jose Puga

Primary Subject Area

Education, General; Education, Administration; Education, Bilingual and Multicultural; Education, Sociology of; Sociology, Ethnic and Racial Studies


achievement gap, Critical ethnography, Critical Race Theory (CRT), Latina principals, Latino Critical Race Theory (LatCrit), social justice


Bilingual, Multilingual, and Multicultural Education | Education | Educational Administration and Supervision | Race and Ethnicity | Sociology | Teacher Education and Professional Development


The population of Latina/o students in public school across the United States is ever-increasing. This fast-growing population suffers from high dropout rates and academic underachievement. This epidemic of underachievement is alarming, as today's Latina/o student will be tomorrow's workforce. There is no time like the present to increase the number of Latina principals in high schools throughout the United States. The purpose of this critical ethnographic study was to understand the experiences of Latina principals in both established and burgeoning Latina/o communities in raising Latina/o achievement. Key findings included: (a) strong ethnic ties and identity, (b) similar stories of ascending to the principalship, (c) their desire to make a difference in the lives of the children they served, (d) internal and external obstacles faced, (e) experiences of discrimination, and (f) championing the causes of equity and student success for all with a social justice agenda. The skill set that made Latinas particularly effective campus principals included: (a) being bilingual, (b) serving as role models, and (c) a desire to serve underserved populations.