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Publication Date

Spring 2023

Degree Type

Dissertation - Campus Access Only

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)




Maria Ledesma

Subject Areas

Educational leadership


The Asian-American student enrollment in public schools is projected to increase from 6% to 7% percent through fall 2029, while the White student population is projected to decrease from 48% to 44% during the same period. Asian female administrators represented only 4.7% in California in 2018-19, whereas White female school administrators represented 58.8%. When minoritized populations become school and district leaders, they focus on building alliances with the marginalized communities they serve and fighting for social justice. This research study investigated the challenges and barriers that Asian-American women leaders face and uncovered more about the institutional and personal forms of support that helps them succeed and advance in their careers. The steps to increase representation are also included as part of this research. This study employed a mixed method research design. The quantitative analysis was done from survey responses that preceded the qualitative analysis from the interviews. The results showed that being an immigrant, facing discrimination, and institutional support were some challenges the leaders faced. They built social capital and increased their visibility to succeed. Support from family, friends, mentors, and colleagues was instrumental in their career growth. Asian-American women leaders shared strategies to increase representation by working in communities.