Doctor of Education
Dr. Anna Farrell
The purpose of this qualitative study, employing a case study design, from a population of K-12 leaders located in an urban area of the state of Minnesota, was to explore the phenomenon of Latina immigrants, all who were non-native English speakers, in K-12 leadership positions. Latina immigrants have not achieved proportionate representation in K-12 leadership positions in school systems in Minnesota which might be losing the opportunity to add the Hispanic leadership perspective to solve critical educational issues in the 21st-century educational system. Latinas, both immigrants and non-immigrants, are not well represented when compared with other racial groups. The following research questions guided this study: How do Latina immigrant leaders in K-12 education achieve success in an urban area of the state of Minnesota and what role does emotional intelligence (EI) play in their success? The second question asked: What are the obstacles unique to Latina immigrant leaders in K-12 education in an urban area in the state of Minnesota and how do Latina leaders use their emotional intelligence (EI) to overcome these obstacles? This study’s methodology and design was a qualitative case study using one-to-one interviews to collect data. This study utilized a non-probability purposive/convenience sampling process to recruit four Latina K-12 leaders as participants.
Data were transcribed and, using ATLAS.ti, significant and consequential phrases, sentences, and keywords were identified. Patterns were characterized by: Parallels, variances, and arrangement within the context of the data, ultimately revealing four themes as the results of this study: Latina immigrants are challenged in their college experiences but are able to obtain empathy and support in order to succeed; Latina immigrants are able to adapt to both family expectations or discouragement related to a college education; religious faith provides Latina immigrants with the strength to persist in their professional journeys; and Latina immigrants are challenged during their professional experiences, including racism, but also are able to obtain inspirational mentoring from K-12 school leadership. The conceptual framework of this study was emotional intelligence (EI). This study, through documenting and highlighting the experiences to Latina immigrant leaders, will assist all K-12 stakeholders. Through the participants’ descriptions of their experiences of overcoming a variety of challenges to become successful, these Latina immigrants have provided awareness for existing K-12 administrators of possible inequities within their schools’ policies and practices.