Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Felicia A. Blacher-Wilson


Low teacher retention negatively influences overall school culture, community, and student achievement. More specifics about what principals are doing to enhance teacher retention are needed. The purpose of this qualitative case study was to understand how elementary school principals address challenges when trying to retain teachers and the leadership practices principals believe encourage teachers to remain in the profession. The conceptual framework included Burns’ transformational leadership theory and Fullan and Quinn’s coherence model. Ten experienced elementary principals with higher retention rates within a suburban school district in the southern United States participated in semistructured interviews in which they were asked about challenges and leadership. A combination of a priori and open coding was used to support thematic analysis. Workload, culture and climate, and lifestyle changes were associated with challenges principals face when trying to retain teachers. Participants indicated that building relationships with teachers, supporting teachers consistently, and maintaining strong hiring practices, induction programs, and professional development offerings were key to retaining teachers. Recommendations include regularly providing mentors for new teachers, including those new to the building, and providing more professional development for principals who need to support teachers. Exit surveys and interviews with teachers, in addition to frequent conversations with teachers who stay, were suggested to inform both the principals and district-level personnel. This study has potential for positive social change because having stable and satisfied teachers influences the success of students and benefits communities.

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