Date of Award

5-13-2016

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Educational Policy Studies

First Advisor

Jami Royal Berry

Second Advisor

Nick Sauers

Third Advisor

Kendra Washington Bass

Abstract

Once considered managers of school buildings, principals have moved into the role of instructional leaders, charged with putting student learning first in their realm of daily responsibilities. The concept of transformational leadership helps foster the development of a school culture that includes student-centered interactions, an underlying sense of social stability, and student learning at its core. Principals lead their staffs in a multitude of ways. The extent of principal effectiveness as it relates to retaining teachers in school buildings is in need of exploration. Four issues related to principal effectiveness are addressed as supported by the literature: (a) educational leadership theory, (b) organizational culture in schools, (c) teacher mobility, and (d) effects of teacher mobility on school culture. Teacher retention at the local school builds stronger communities simply by fostering relationships that enable problem solving among colleagues, students, and parents. This dissertation looks at the role of the principal in developing a healthy school culture in order to provide descriptions of leadership practices, so their value can be assessed and debated. Data collection consisted of sixteen semi-structured interviews that constitute the source of this instrumental case study. By interviewing system leaders in two distinctly different districts and examining the perceptions of teachers in those districts, the researcher was able to understand the effects of the Georgia Vision Project and teacher retention at the local school level. Data analysis resulted in the central categories: respect, support, relationships, recognition, open door policy, and encouragement as ways in which principals can influence retention.

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