Career perspectives of Mexican American male superintendents in obtaining the position of superintendent in the state of Texas



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This study focused on the perceptions of Mexican-American male superintendents in obtaining the position of superintendent in the state of Texas. This study sought to identify and examine; (a) the experiences of MexicanAmerican males as they rose to the position of superintendent in the state of Texas; (b) the career paths of successful Mexican-American male superintendents; and (c) skills successful Mexican-American male superintendents utilize in order to gain the position of superintendent. This qualitative study utilized the phenomenologic approach, which focuses on the perceptions and meanings of individuals and specific experiences they have lived. The participants for this study were five Mexican-American males in the position of superintendent in a public school district in the state of Texas and one board member from each of the respective boards that participated in hiring the superintendent. Each member was interviewed and observed to identify significant factors in their life experiences. The findings of the study provided notable information in the form of seven major themes: motivation to make a difference, support, mentors/Anglo mentors, barriers, career paths, skills, and networking. The findings of this study indicate that none of the participants entered education seeking the superintendency, but at some point in their career they became aware of their desire to pursue the position. Support was revealed as a vital factor in the success of the participants. This support was derived from family and friends, peers and cohorts, and/or professional mentors. Mentors were essential in offering support, guidance, and social capital. The importance of having an Anglo mentor was the ability of the Anglo to provide the aspirant credibility, and/or introduction into the Anglo dominated superintendent society. The findings also revealed the barriers of prejudice and culture as those faced by Mexican-American males. Career paths, skills, and networking were revealed as the last major themes in this study as major factors in the pursuit of the superintendent position. Finally, the qualitative data revealed that Mexican-American males perceived support, Anglo mentors, networking, skills, and conquering barriers as the major assets needed to successfully obtain the position of superintendent in the state of Texas.