Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Executive Leadership

First Supervisor

Dr. Marie Cianca

Second Supervisor

Dr. Michael Wischnowski


Research has consistently shown that the quality of teachers working with students has a greater impact on academic achievement than any other school-related factor. Despite years of study, however, close to a third of new teachers continue to leave the profession within their first 5 years of employment. In particular, hard-to-staff rural schools in New York State have struggled to attract and retain promising educators. While many factors appear to influence these troubling rates of retention, experts have consistently identified administrative support to be of unique importance. Yet a lack of clarity continues to surround the specific leadership behaviors that new teachers interpret as supportive. Using Herzberg’s two-factor theory, this study adds to the research involving teacher retention by providing insight into the behaviors needed to decrease attrition. Using a qualitative research design, this study collected data from three separate focus groups composed of superintendents, principals, and aspiring administrators. By analyzing themes that emerged in the coding process, three findings surfaced. First, skilled leaders recognize the need to purposefully establish authentic relationships with new teachers. Second, support for novice educators must be viewed as a collective responsibility. Third, ongoing affirmation lays the groundwork for future empowerment. Confirming that school leaders can indeed leverage specific leadership behaviors in order to better retain talented teachers, the findings provided the basis for recommendations involving superintendents, principals, K-12 educators, and leadership preparation programs.

Included in

Education Commons