Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Ph.D. in Education

First Advisor

Douglas R. Davis

Second Advisor

Dennis Bunch

Third Advisor

Richard Balkin


University of Mississippi

Relational Format



Identifying teachers’ reasons for leaving the field of education and monitoring retention indicators to address and remedy the problem is critical for school leaders and policymakers in recruiting and retaining high-quality educators. Understanding teachers’ experiences and opinions can facilitate practices and protocols to increase retention. The study aimed to investigate perceptions of successful and departing teachers on school leadership practices, which impact teacher retention in rural public schools in Mississippi. By conducting a research study on teachers’ lived experiences, school leaders can explore options and construct recruitment, mentoring, and collaboration practices to encourage retention, which gives teachers a sense of value and a voice in the process. The qualitative phenomenological approach was used for this study because the subjects’ lived experiences and interpretations were being examined. The responses of the six teachers, who stayed in or left the field of education, provided an understanding of what influenced their decisions. The teachers' responses in this study suggest educational leaders would benefit if they consider the teachers’ perceptions of leadership practices, which can contribute to teacher job satisfaction and retention. As schools explore strategies to increase the retention of teachers, it is important for administrators to understand the relationship between the leadership practice of principals and the decisions of teachers to remain in the school or leave. Most of the teachers express satisfaction with the teacher training, collaboration opportunities, and preparation for dealing with problematic student behaviors, which have been provided to support their success. If school leaders, educational institutions, and policymakers can identify and eradicate the reasons for quality educators leaving the profession, the educational system would reap tremendous benefits.


Educational Leadership, K-12



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