Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Nicolae Nistor


High teacher turnover affects school development and student achievement in bilingual kindergartens in China. Relaying on this gap in practice, the project study explores how teachers perceive the influence of their principals’ leadership styles on their decisions to stay in or leave bilingual kindergartens in Shanghai. The concepts of instructional leadership, transformational leadership, and distributed leadership from leadership theory were used as the conceptual framework for the study. The research questions addressed bilingual kindergarten teachers’ reasons to stay or leave and, in particular, their perceptions of their principal’s leadership style as a retention factor. In this basic qualitative research study, eight teachers who once worked at the bilingual kindergarten participated in the study. Data were collected through semistructured interviews and were analyzed and coded to identify common themes. The findings revealed the work environment quality, development opportunities, salary, and some personal reasons as the main factors affecting the teachers’ decisions to stay or leave the bilingual kindergarten. In addition, supportive instruction, the existence of a shared vision among teachers, and the possibility to build trustful relationships were perceived as the primary principal leadership strategies influencing participants’ retention decisions. Building upon the findings, a professional development plan was proposed to aid teacher retention in bilingual kindergartens. This professional development may reduce teacher turnover in the kindergarten and provide a model for other kindergartens and schools with teacher turnover issues, in consequence inducing positive social change.