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The National Latino Leadership Project (NLLP) is a effort that is focused on learning about the contributions that Latina/o school leaders are making to PK-12 public school system. More specifically, the NLLP is interested in finding answers to questions such as: As more Latino PK-12 educators make their way to the leadership ranks in America’s public schools, how will researchers document their contributions to the American public education system? Additionally, How can we begin to understand the complexity of the PK-12 Latino school principal and assistant principal?

The NLLP is committed to illuminating (through research studies, policy briefs, conference presentations, and educational forums) the lived experiences of Latino principals that often go unnoticed and undervalued in educational leadership research. We (researchers, practitioners, and the general public) rarely hear about Latina/o school leaders and their personal histories, leadership challenges related to gender and race, contributions, roles, responsibilities, and career aspirations, both personal and organizational.

Acknowledging Latina/o experiences as legitimate and valuable, the NLLP hopes to place the experiences of Latina/o school leaders to the forefront of leadership research and bring validation to the knowledge Latino school leaders generate.

The NLLP authors believe that Latina/o school leaders could add to our understanding of the relationship between ethnicity, educational experiences, and future success. A study of Latina/o leaders that examines leadership experiences, the relationship between leadership and identity, and career aspiration offers important dimensions for the field of educational leadership.

The research conducted by the NLLP is planned to reflect on best practices to improve schools, set a school vision for Latina/o students, guide educators, students, families, and communities through the work of Latina/o school leaders. The exploration of Latin@ leadership considers the complexities of serving students of diverse backgrounds. The study includes the relationship between leadership and identity, and career aspiration as important dimensions for the field of educational leadership.

Latinos are part of the largest population of color (14 percent), and are projected to compose 30 percent of the population by the year 2050 (Pew Foundation 2008). Latinos are also younger and growing at a faster rate than members of the general population. At the same time, Latinos have the lowest educational attainment rates and college completion rates among members of any racial/ethnic group (Astin and Oseguera 2003; Fry 2002). We advocate for Latina/o leaders that encourage students to build upon their cultural heritage, and encourage their campuses to nurture students and families’ traditions while improving the academic knowledge to students.