Sustained Mentoring of Students of Color

A Testimonio in Two Voices

  • Nadia Aguilar Los Angeles Unified School District
  • Sharon H. Ulanoff California State University, Los Angeles
Keywords: Social Capital, Mentorship, Doctoral, Graduate, Testimonio, Shared authority


Using a testimonio (Beverley, 1989) in two voices, we discuss the mentoring practices in one Ed.D. Program in Educational Leadership at a large urban public university in California through the eyes of one mentee, Author1, and her mentor, Author2.  We discuss our relative roles, how we learned from each other, and the practices that supported Author1’s success through the lens of shared authority (Frisch, 2003; Wong, 2016), a term used to describe the interviewee-interviewer relationship in oral histories.  We borrow the term shared authority as it embodies “the cultivation of trust, the development of collaborative relationships, and shared decision-making” (High, 2009, p. 13) that became part of our shared story as Author1 navigated her doctoral studies through graduation and beyond. The following testimonio describes how we both approached this relationship and how it evolved over the course of Author1’s Ed.D. journey and beyond. 

Author Biographies

Nadia Aguilar, Los Angeles Unified School District

Nadia Aguilar is a highly skilled, innovative, educational leader with a successful record in effective special education services implementation and team collaboration. Currently, she is a Transition Service Facilitator for Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD)and serves as the liaison between LAUSD community agencies and families of children ages three and up to provide pre-referral interventions, monitor the assessment process, and coordinate all aspects of IEP development. Nadia is as a part-time lecturer in the Charter College of Education at Cal State LA. She is experienced in meeting the educational needs of students (P-20) from diverse cultural backgrounds, students with disabilities, and at-risk students through creating engaging learning environments conducive to the highest achievement levels. She graduated from the EdD Program in Educational Leadership at Cal State LA in 2016.

Sharon H. Ulanoff, California State University, Los Angeles

Sharon H. Ulanoff is a Professor of Bilingual/Multicultural and Literacy Instruction at California State University, Los Angeles, where she serves as the Co-Director of the EdD Program in Educational Leadership. A former bilingual teacher, her research interests include literacy and biliteracy acquisition, teacher identity development, narrative inquiry, and practitioner research and assessment. Her recent publications address professional development, second language teaching, and effective second language literacy practices. She is a frequent presenter at state, national, and international conferences and is a member of the editorial boards of the Bilingual Research Journal and Diversity, Social Justice & the Educational Leader.

Pedagogical Perspectives