Pathways to the superintendency: Case studies of Hispanic superintendents in Texas

Sandra Calzada, University of Texas at El Paso


The purposes of this study were (a) to learn about the pathways to the superintendency for Hispanic superintendents in Texas and (b) to examine cultural issues encountered along the way. Collected data were compared to Schein’s theory of organizational career mobility. A triangulation approach consisting of in-depth interviewing, survey completion, and observational data solicited information pertaining to their career development tracks, personal and career preparation, and incentives or disincentives to pursuing the superintendency. Participants were purposively selected from approximately 120 to 130 current Hispanic superintendents in Texas. The selected superintendents lead large districts (student enrollment exceeding 25,000) throughout various Texas geographical regions. Specifically, 11 current Hispanic superintendents met the research criteria to participate in the study. It was found that, rather than looking at pathways to the superintendency as the acquisition of titles (principal, director, area/associate superintendent), what determines career advancement or leads to the pathway to the superintendency for Hispanic individuals is their (a) self-perception, (b) attitudes, and (c) behaviors as they traverse specific work experiences related to school leadership. The “glass ceiling” for Hispanic leaders who wish to advance to the superintendency involves changing perceptions about Hispanic leaders and serving as the impetus for future educational leaders so they too are considered viable candidates.

Subject Area

Cultural anthropology|Educational leadership|School administration|Hispanic American studies

Recommended Citation

Calzada, Sandra, "Pathways to the superintendency: Case studies of Hispanic superintendents in Texas" (2015). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI3708534.