Planning and Evaluation Department, the school had slightly over 200 staff, including
Tang and Kao: Ethnicity, Gender, and the Education of Cambodian American Studen
Published by Purdue e-Pubs, 2012
Tang & Kao—Ethnicity, Gender, and the Education of Cambodian American Students 8
Journal of Southeast Asian American Education & Advancement, Vol. 7 (2012)
administrators, teachers or instructors, and pupil services or classified positions. Among the staff,
there were more females than males: 55% versus 45%, respectively. Six of the ten administrators
were males: the two co-principals were both males, while three of the four assistant principals
were female. The teaching staff was evenly split across gender, with only a slight majority of
teachers being female. The pupil services staff, which includes counselors, clerks, secretaries,
etc., was also largely made up of females.
The staff was also ethnically diverse, but they acknowledged that more progress can be
made to have a staff that better reflected the student population. The majority of the personnel
were White (68%), while minorities were represented to a lesser degree: African American
(12%), Hispanics (12%), and Asians (6%). One noticeable gap was the lack of Asians in the
administrative and pupil services positions. During the time of the study, the school had only
three Cambodian Americans staff, including one teacher (female) and the other two in pupil
services. One administrator, Charles, put it best, “minorities are lacking all across the board, but
that is nationwide.” More importantly, the school was attempting to deal with the challenge of an
extremely diverse student population. Based on the staff interviews, the school staff was
significantly more diverse than in the past, in terms of both gender and race.
The staff felt that it was important to have an environment conducive to diversity. For
example, one teacher, Barbara, stated that “there’s constant teaching and modeling of tolerance
and courtesy to everyone, and it is just something that we abide by here because there’s so much
diversity.” The male teacher, David, highlighted the importance of connecting with students: “It
is the connections with the students, the relationship one has with the student, and sometimes, it
has nothing to do with the person’s ability, but whether or not the student can relate and is
comfortable with that person.” All of the students also reported feeling more comfortable with
teachers or staff of the same gender or similar ethnicity.
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