Date of Award


Degree Name



Ed. Leadership and Administration


Penelope P. Espinoza


This autoethnography analyzes how my life experiences both as a student and as an educator in this community influenced my principalship and my efforts to open a new elementary school focused on college and career readiness. The aim of this dissertation was to utilize an autoethnographic method to examine the process of opening a new elementary school in a far west Texas border community. Current research, along with my own experiences, demonstrates that traditional approaches to teaching and learning no longer move students toward 21st-century learning objectives of problem solving and troubleshooting. The new school, a 21st-century learning facility in a school district that is more progressive than its neighboring districts, offers elementary students the opportunity to learn collaboration, communication, creativity, and critical thinking, in part offered by a project-based learning approach. Three overarching goals support the school's vision: ensure academic success, provide social and emotional learning support, and infuse the methods supported by a college and career readiness approach. The significance of this self-study is that it provides a reflective method for monitoring the planning stage through the first year after opening the new school. This autoethnographic study reviews local data regarding the problem of college degree attainment, examines state-mandated data for the campus at the end of the first school year, and, most important, qualitatively documents building a new school and its culture to support student success and student potential at the elementary school level.




Received from ProQuest

File Size

153 p.

File Format


Rights Holder

Jesse Antonio Sepulveda