Term of Award

Fall 2015

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (Ed.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Leadership, Technology, and Human Development

Committee Chair

Brenda Marina

Committee Member 1

Judith Robbins

Committee Member 2

Robert Lake


For many teachers employed in schools in metro Atlanta, meeting the demands of No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top is complicated by social realities characterized by the urban environment. Teachers’ beliefs about learning, operationalized at either the individual or the collective level, are influenced by the context of the schools in which they teach, and when teaching in the urban context, it is critical that teachers believe students can learn despite their circumstances (Halvorsen, Lee, & Andrade, 2009). The purpose of schools is to ensure academic achievement for children despite age, creed, color, race, or religion; however, students in urban or inner-city environments are not performing as well as their suburban counterparts. High levels of teacher attrition and turnover in urban areas are contributing to lower levels of achievement in students residing in urban areas and impacted by poverty.

This mixed-methods study combined teacher questionnaire data with focus group data to determine the perspective of urban teachers as it related to teacher retention. The study sought to identify if principals influence urban teacher retention and to analyze attributes, characteristics, and behaviors of urban principals which may have an effect on teacher retention.

The overall findings of this study were that principals do have an influence on urban teacher retention which can be either positive or negative. Additionally, several positive attributes, characteristics, and behaviors were identified which influence urban teachers positively to continue teaching in urban environments.