Term of Award

Fall 2020

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

Teri Denlea Melton

Committee Member 1

Antonio Gutierrez de Blume

Committee Member 2

Paul Brinson


This non-experimental quantitative study aimed to determine if servant leadership influenced teacher retention or student achievement and if teacher retention influenced student achievement. This study’s respondents were 145 middle and high school teachers within a contiguous rural region of the Southeastern United States. Survey responses were received and analyzed during the late summer of 2020. Three research questions guided this study: Does servant leadership [high, low] influence teacher retention intention; What is the effect of servant leadership [high, low] on student achievement by categorical population groups as identified by the GaDOE; and lastly, What is the effect of teacher retention intention [stay, leave] on student achievement while controlling for servant leadership perception overall by categorical population groups as identified by the GaDOE? However, limited sample sizes impacted the statistical significance of the study. Nonetheless, small to moderated and moderate effect sizes existed across many of the variables. The associated analyses revealed three key findings. First, servant leadership held approximately 10% of the variance for teachers’ retention intention. Second, teachers’ perceptions of their school principals’ servant leadership bore no relationships to student achievement. Third, teacher retention yielded a minimal positive association with English Language Arts and Social Studies and a relatively strong negative correlation in mathematics. This study provides educational leaders with the realizations that servant leadership offers an effective means to combat teacher attrition and focus their efforts on those issues within their spheres of influence.

Research Data and Supplementary Material