Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Donna C. Graham


Teacher attrition has serious consequences in hard to staff schools. Mostly poor and ethnic minority students are deprived of being taught by stable, experienced teachers. The purpose of this study was to explore the strategies used to effectively retain teachers in such schools through the perspective of teachers at a high school that comprises poor and ethnic minority students in southwest Georgia. The conceptual framework that guided this study was Chen's theory about race and social class which postulated that a high percentage of poor ethnic minority students results in low teacher morale. This study explored the reasons why teachers stay at a school where there is a high proportion of poor and ethnic minority students. In this research, the case study strategy of inquiry was employed and data were collected from interviews with 10 teachers (using a 16-question interview guide) to solicit their perspectives on the working conditions at their school. The data were then examined for patterns and themes in the text. The findings produced 4 consolidated themes that revealed (a) aspects of a successful environment created by the principal; (b) an effective mentoring program that was aimed at assisting, developing, and supporting new and inexperienced teachers; (c) good parental involvement where parents were enthusiastic about supporting the school and their child's educational progress; and (d) stable and charismatic leadership that promoted retention. If implemented at hard to staff schools, these best practices can lead to improved teacher morale, better prepared teachers, and higher student achievement.