A Phenomenological Study on Hispanic School Superinendents' Perceptions About the Impact of a Common Language and Lived Cultural Experience in Educating Hispanic English Language Learners

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D)


Educational Administration

Date of Award

Spring 2018


In this qualitative study, the researcher used a phenomenological design to better understand Hispanic superintendents' perceptions of how or if their personal childhood experiences influenced their current leadership stance in educating Hispanic English language learners (ELLs) enrolled in their respective school districts. She examined the relationship between the participants' language, culture, and socio-economic status and their predilection of programs used to educate the Hispanic ELLs in their respective school districts using Latino Critical Race Theory (LatCrit) to answer the overarching study question: How do linguistic, cultural, and socio-economic factors of Hispanic superintendents' lived experience contribute to their predilection of formal programming and approaches (e.g., bilingual education, dual language, sheltered instruction, mainstream classes, etc.) for Hispanic ELLs? Secondary or sub-questions focused specifically on the linguistic and cultural aspects of the superintendents' experiences. Participants included seven Hispanic superintendents in the borderland community located in far west Texas. Participants completed the Hispanic Superintendent Demographic Data Survey to qualify for participation in the study prior to engaging in a semi-structured interview. Part of the criteria included their self-assertion that they were Hispanic, had been in their current position at least a year, and would be willing to be interviewed. Among other factors, this survey also captured information about their birth county, the language spoken upon entering formal schooling, their parents' schooling experience, and their socio-economic status. Findings showed that 79% of the participants indicated that their Spanish language proficiency did not enter as a critical role in their superintendency. Additionally, 57% posited that being Hispanic made them more sensitive to their Hispanic ELLs. The majority of the participants' lived experiences as Hispanic ELLs from a predominantly low socio-economic background and from predominantly Spanish-speaking households had a noticeable impact on the educational programming and approaches for Hispanic ELLs in their respective districts. Hispanic superintendents strived to make a difference in their Hispanic ELL students' lives through a variety of social programs and approaches, the most notable being bilingual education.


Arthur Borgemenke

Subject Categories

Education | Educational Administration and Supervision | Educational Leadership