Date of Award

Winter 2-16-2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Organizational Leadership

First Advisor

Jeffrey Lee

Second Advisor

Carlos V. Guzman

Third Advisor

Tamarin Capellino


Purpose: The purpose of this constructivist inquiry study was to identify and describe the perceptions of Asian American principals of how cultural values impacted their career choice tendencies in the K-12 educational setting.

Methodology: For the purposes of providing the most authentic and genuine lived experiences and perceptions of these Asian American principal participants, the researcher engaged in three primary methods of collecting data, which included demographic questionnaire, interviews, and artifacts. The study participants were 15 current Asian American full-time principals who work in school districts located in Los Angeles and Orange County, California.

Findings. A thorough examination of study participant interviews, demographic questionnaires, and artifacts unveiled four findings. First, Asian American K-12 principals were encouraged by their parents to pursue typical Asian careers such as doctors, lawyers, and engineers. Second, parents of Asian American principals viewed K-12 career path as female-dominated. Third, Asian American K-12 principals grew up significantly valuing education as a vehicle for upward mobility. Last, Asian American educators were taught that hard work and humility will help them in life.

Conclusions. Based on the research findings of this study and the existing literature, the researcher drew four conclusions. First, the belief that being a doctor, lawyer, and engineer is a more prestigious career due to status and higher pay is a cultural obstacle for Asian Americans who are interested in a career in K-12 education. Second, male Asian American educators face greater pressure from their parents when considering teaching as a career. Third, acquiring graduate degrees, certifications, and taking part in ongoing professional development allows Asian American educators to move up in the educational system. Last, Asian cultural values such as hard work and humility were key ingredients for success for Asian American educators.

Recommendations. Further research is recommended to replicate and extend the study to a different populations and samples in order to expand the understanding of how cultural values impact the career choice tendencies of Asian Americans K-12 principals.