The Repository @ St. Cloud State

Open Access Knowledge and Scholarship

Date of Award


Culminating Project Type


Degree Name

Educational Administration and Leadership, K-12: Ed.D.


Educational Administration and Higher Education


School of Education

First Advisor

John Eller

Second Advisor

Kay Worner

Third Advisor

Roger Worner

Fourth Advisor

Plamen Miltenoff

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Keywords and Subject Headings

attrition, retention, administrative support, teacher turnover


In April 1983, the National Commission on Excellence in Education released the report A Nation at Risk. This report stated, “The educational foundations of our society are presently being eroded by a rising tide of mediocrity that threatens our very future as a nation and a people” (United States. Department of Education, 2004, para. 3). The report was the impetus for public education in the United States to prepare youth for work and responsible citizenship, to forge a common culture within an ethnically diverse country, and to reduce inequalities for the common good of the nation (Present, 2010).

The United States is struggling to remain economically dominant in a time when mathematics and reading test scores are not globally competitive (Mathis, 2005). The United States is not ranking competitively on international standardized exams and students today have a lesser capacity to compete globally (National Governors Association Center for Best Practices, 2010). Under performance has sparked several large-scale reforms including “No Child Left Behind,” the Reading First Initiative, and currently the Common Core State Standards (Mathis, 2005). Pressures and demands on teachers are greater now than ever before in history and teacher attrition is a major problem (Magruder et al., 2013). These pressures and demands have contributed to attrition from the teaching profession.

Schools have had to cope with attrition by increasing class sizes, increasing teacher working hours, increasing their salaries proportionally—which can strain district finances, and the recruiting of other education professionals (Macdonald, 1999). In addition to the concern about the annual attrition rate for all teachers, the even higher rate of attrition of beginning teachers has been particularly troubling to the field of education (Dee & Wyckoff, 2015). Studies reveal bright college graduates are less likely to enter the teaching profession, and even if they do, they leave in a short period of time (Shen, Leslie, Spybrook, & Ma, 2012).

The purpose of this study was to examine teachers’ perceptions in Southwestern Minnesota school districts of school-associated factors related to attrition. More specifically, the study seeks to determine if support from administration, working conditions, relationships with colleagues, and salary are perceived as having a significant influence on teacher attrition.

Administrative support emerged as the most important factor in possible attrition followed by working conditions, salary/benefits and finally, relationships with colleagues. Demographic factors did not seem to have a major impact on how teachers rate the importance of the attrition factors, with the possible exception of district enrollment. The higher degree attained by teachers decreased the possibility of attrition from the profession or school district.


I am completing my 20-first year in public education and participating in the doctoral program at St. Cloud State University has been a very rewarding experience. The faculty and members of Cohort VI helped me grow professionally through shared experiences, thoughtful discussions, and in goal setting. I appreciated all support from the cohort as it enabled me to keep pressing forward to the end.

I wish to thank all my professors at St. Cloud State University and especially to my committee; Dr. John Eller, Dr. Plamen Miltenoff, Dr. Kay Worner, and Dr. Roger Worner. They kept the entire dissertation process in perspective and offered sound advice, practical insights, and encouragement to help me reach my goal. A special thank you to Dr. Eller who acted as my advisor and Chair. Dr. Eller was readily available and understood my life as a district Superintendent. He was always willing to consult and provide meaningful feedback to help my study be the best it could be.

I would also like to thank my colleagues and school board members of the Lakeview School District as they were supportive of my doctoral journey.

To my three children, Maddie, Nick, and Nathan, you were supportive and understanding when I had to be away for class and to work on my dissertation. You inspire me daily.

Finally, I want to thank my wife, Christine. You understood that working on my Doctorate was going to consume more time on my already busy superintendent schedule and more time away from the family. You encouraged me throughout the program and believed in me when it was a struggle. I could not have finished without you.



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