Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Mary Hallums


Teacher attrition is a debilitating problem that plagues education, contributes to the teacher shortage, and challenges administrators to staff schools with qualified teachers. The high teacher attrition rates in rural schools in the southeastern United States were the fundamental problem addressed in this qualitative case study. This qualitative case study's purpose was to explore how K–12 administrators perceived the factors influencing teacher attrition in a rural school district in the southeastern United States. Maslow's hierarchy of needs human motivation theory, emphasizing the concepts of the hierarchy of needs, provided support for the two research questions exploring K–12 school and district administrators' perceptions of factors contributing to teacher attrition in the rural school district. A self-designed interview protocol was used to collect data through semistructured interviews with a purposeful sampling of eight state-certified school and district administrators with a minimum of two years of experience. Open coding and thematic analysis were employed to extract themes and categories. The themes derived from the findings included climate and culture, building capacity, resources, relationships, and rural challenges. They indicated that teacher attrition in rural schools could be reduced by emphasizing strong relationships between teachers and administrators, creating a climate and culture that encourages teachers to stay, and increasing capacity through professional development to improve student achievement. The implications for positive social change are addressing teacher attrition, promoting teacher retention, improving teacher quality, and increasing student achievement. The positive social change will enhance the school district and provide equitable learning opportunities and resources to improve student achievement and community growth.