Herstory: journeys of Hmong American women in acquiring the principalship





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This dissertation is an effort to support more Hmong women into educational leadership positions. The K-12 student population along with demographics in our country is changing. It is imperative that young children see educators who represent them in their classrooms and schools. There are very few Hmong women principals in the United States at the time of this writing. The foundation of this study, qualitative in nature, was constructed around the narratives of four Hmong women principals and four assistant principals in the United States. All of the women in this study were born in Laos, fled to Thailand in the mid-1970's due to the Vietnam War, and then immigrated to the United States with their families. The research participants range in age from thirty-one to thirty-seven years old. This research revealed that many aspects contributed to the leadership journeys of these women. How they were raised culturally, their aspirations in school, having caring mentors, learning from acts of racism, and truly understanding how to navigate two different cultures on a daily basis are some of the experiences that are shared in this study. Furthermore, the study revealed that Hmong women principals are following in the footsteps of earlier women of color, in regards to the process, mentoring, and hiring practices of entering the principalship. Like African-American and Hispanic women in the early 1970's and 1980's Hmong women principals today, work in schools where ethnic minority students are the majority in their schools.

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