Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Kathryn G. Swetnam


Novice alternatively-certified teachers are hired to teach in high-poverty schools at a higher rate than traditionally-certified peers. These teachers are often unprepared to teach in challenging environments and struggle to manage their classrooms and achieve student academic success. The purpose of this exploratory qualitative case study was to investigate elementary school administrators’ perceptions of support for novice alternatively-certified teachers in high-poverty schools in a southern U.S. state. Burns’s transformational leadership paradigm informed the study. The research questions focused on how elementary principals and assistant principals perceived transformational practices to support novice alternatively-certified teachers in high-poverty schools. Data were collected using semistructured interviews with 11 purposively-selected elementary school administrators with at least 3 years of administrative experience. Content analysis using open and pattern coding was used to identify three themes: novice alternatively-certified teachers require (a) support through coaching, mentoring, modeling, and individualized training; (b) opportunities to gain experience and pedagogical knowledge by observing model teachers; and (c) a culture with a growth mindset and a shared vision. Principals and assistant principals need to obtain training and development to provide individualized support for novice alternatively-certified teachers. District-level training that differentiates across teachers to address specific needs is needed. Knowledgeable, effective, transformational leaders are catalysts for change in high-poverty schools whose practices can permeate into high-poverty communities to create lasting social change. Information gleaned from this study may lead to positive social change by helping to retain teachers and provide consistency for students to increase academic achievement.