Date of Award

Spring 5-17-2019

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Policy Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Nicholas Sauers

Second Advisor

Dr. James Kahrs

Third Advisor

Dr. Susan Ogletree


Professional educators are known to have one of the highest attrition rates among the American professions. As a result, administrative personal face financial hardships in the effort to attract, develop, and often replace large numbers of educators on a yearly basis. The National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES), in a 2016 report, found that over 15% of the national education workforce either left or mobilized within the profession between 2011 and 2013. Another report from the Alliance for Excellent Education in 2014 indicated that school and district administrators spend on average 2.2 billion dollars annually to replace teachers. These expenses account for both attrition (48.7%) and mobilization (51.3%). This dissertation was conducted in an urban school district with a high enrollment of high-poverty minority students. For this study, nine teachers were chosen from the K-12 grade levels with varying teaching experience. This case study examined the perceptions of full-time teachers who left one school yet remained teaching within the same district. Using organizational theory based on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, the perceptions of teachers were explored in order to identify the possible factors that contributed to their decision to leave. A case study was necessary to determine why the decision to leave was made, given the specific context of the organization. Data was collected through surveys, interviews, and artifact collection. The interview protocol presented the interview process, the questions, and notes related to the interview experience (Creswell, 2002). Personal notes and digital voice recorders were used to capture participant testimony. Data analysis included a six-step process developed by Braun, Clark, and Terry (2012) to capture and code the data. Qualitative data analysis software, NVivo, was used to maintain a chain of evidence that recognized emergent themes from participant testimony. The key themes that emerged from the data were (a) perceived leadership support, (b) standardized testing pressures, and (c) quality and meaningful parental involvement. The findings aligned with current and historical research that the absence of teacher support, stressors related to standardized testing, and feelings of isolation contributed to teacher dissatisfaction.