Latina educational leaders: Three narratives

Date of Completion

January 2008


Women's Studies|Education, Curriculum and Instruction|Hispanic American Studies




Latinas, as much as any marginal subgroup of women in the United States, have been and are still at the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder of United States' society. They face problems of poverty, crime, unemployment, illiteracy in the English Language and in some cases even in Spanish, and a lack of decent health care (Abalos, 1998; Darder & Gutierrez, 1997). Latina activists participated within the feminist movement in the hopes of political action leading to social reforms in education, housing, health care and employment for the Latino community and for Latinas. ^ Latinas struggled against the obstacle of patriarchal oppression within their own communities as well as against the silence and invisibility the mainstream women's movement appeared to assign to them (Garcia, 1993; Hernandez-Truyol, 1994; Lourde, 1984; Moraga, 1983; Mohanty, 2004; Pesquera & Segura, 1998; Romero, 1993; Sandoval, 2000). For women of color, which includes many self-identified Latinas, the interwoven relationships between sexism, racism, and class were and continue to be an integral part of their social experiences (Delgado Bernal, 1998; Garcia, 1993; Hernandez-Truyol, 1994; Iglesias, 1998; Lourde, 1984; Moraga, 1983; Mohanty, 2004; Romero, 1993; Sandoval, 2000). ^ This study is an endeavor to render visible certain Latina issues by exploring the lives of three Latina educators who have risen through the ranks of the Connecticut secondary public school system into positions of leadership. The focus of the project is to hear the story of their life histories growing up in the United States and participating in the American education system. The study will explore the complex interactions within their shared experiences of growing up in poor working class backgrounds, being women in a man's world, and coming from marginalized racial/ethnic backgrounds. The study will examine their commitment to seek out careers in education and examine their educational philosophies, and the strategies they developed to overcome these multiple structures of oppression. ^ Little has been written on the subject area of Latina educators in secondary public school education. This study will supplement the sparse literature on the experiences of Latina educators in secondary schools in the discourses on educational equity and social justice for Latinas. ^