Date of Award

Spring 4-7-2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Organizational Leadership

First Advisor

Jeffrey Lee

Second Advisor

Timothy McCarty

Third Advisor

Marcie Plummer


Purpose: The purpose of this ethnographic study was to identify and describe how California community college Latina mid-level leaders are culturally responsive in their leadership strategies, based on Horsford, Grosland, and Gunn’s (2011) culturally relevant leadership framework.

Methodology: This ethnographic study identified and described how Latina mid-level leaders within the California community colleges utilize culturally responsive leadership strategies using Horsford et al.’s (2011) culturally relevant leadership framework. The researcher was part of a thematic team of 6 researchers who developed and vetted a semi-structured interview protocol aligned with the theoretical framework. Sixteen participants were identified and selected using purposeful criterion sampling. Data was collected through virtual semi-structured interviews and artifacts. The researcher collected, analyzed, and coded the data using qualitative research software to identify themes and articulate findings.

Findings: The findings of this study illustrate that mid-level California community college Latina leaders utilize culturally responsive leadership strategies within all four dimensions of Horsford et al.’s (2011) culturally relevant leadership framework. The study found that the Latina mid-level leaders’ personal journeys and identities were deeply enmeshed with their leadership practices and professional sense of duty to lead for equity. Further, the study found that Latina mid-level leaders cultivated alliances, engaged in mentoring, and leaned on data when navigating the political context of the community college. Lastly, the leaders in this study led with authenticity and intention while fostering workplace cultures that promoted growth and accountability for diversity, equity, and inclusion. Analysis of semi-structured interviews and artifacts yielded 14 major themes, 10 major findings, and 1 unexpected finding.

Conclusions: Supported by the literature and based on the findings of this study, the researcher drew 9 conclusions that created a deeper understanding of the intersection of identity and culturally responsive leadership practices within community colleges.

Recommendations: Further research is recommended to replicate this study with different affinity groups; a meta-analysis of the thematic group’s studies of culturally relevant leadership of California community college leaders; replication of this study with Latinx faculty leaders; and a meta-analysis of graduate-level educational leadership programs to identify how culturally responsive leadership behaviors are embedded in the curriculum.