Date of Award


Degree Name

PhD Education for Social Justice

Dissertation Committee

Sarina Chugani Molina, Ed.D., Chair; Veronica Garza, Ed.D., Member; Pedro Nava, Ph.D., Member


retention, circulo, critical consciousness, Latino male educators, diversity, qualitative, case study, masculinity, machismo, identity, focus groups, gender, teacher, education


In a K–12 educational landscape where 75% of educators are white women, recruitment of Latino male educators is crucial for diversification, yet these educators represent just 2% of the teaching workforce in the United States (NCES, 2020). These educators grapple with a layered sense of identity as they navigate expectations of hegemonic masculinity and machismo norms that dictate their roles as disciplinarians and saviors, especially for young boys of color (Brockenbrough, 2018; Lara & Fránquiz, 2015; Martino & Kehler, 2006; Mills et al., 2004; Singh, 2021). Unfortunately, Latino male educators leave the profession at twice the rate of their Latina counterparts (Lara & Fránquiz, 2015; Partee, 2014). This critical qualitative case study employed critical sociocultural theory, racial identity development theory, masculinity studies, and LatCrit theory to explore how Latino male educators comprehend and negotiate their gender identities in K–12 educational spaces. Using circulos enfocados, findings revealed participants often navigated tension between their authentic selves and external and internal expectations of their machismo. Participants with a heightened critical consciousness demonstrated how they rejected heteronormative standards, engaged in critical pedagogical practices, and worked to dismantle patriarchal systems. Participants accumulated knowledge and skills vital to navigating their personal and professional lives. This study revealed how circulos enfocados can enhance critical machismo consciousness and support the complex journey of Latino male educators as they redefine their roles and challenge heteronormative gender standards in pursuit of inclusive and equitable education. Recommendations include how educational institutions can support programmatic efforts to retain these educators.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access


Learning and Teaching