Term of Award

Fall 2020

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (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 Melton

Committee Member 1

Cordelia Zinskie

Committee Member 2

Brandon Hunt



Classroom teachers' decisions to leave the profession negatively affect the educational experience of the students, burden the remaining teachers, and drain school districts of funds that should go to students but instead are spent on recruiting and training. This phenomenological study examined the experiences of former classroom teachers to determine the role their school principals may have played in their decisions to leave the profession. Ten former elementary school teachers from South Carolina participated in the study. The researcher collected data using interviews; a semi-structured interview protocol was created from current literature and designed to align with the research question. Interviews were held virtually and transcribed by a private, third party company. Upon data analysis, three themes emerged: rules, norms, and security; teaching and learning; and, interpersonal relationships. This study suggests that the relationship between the teacher and his or her principal may be the driving force behind teacher attrition.

Index words: teacher attrition, principals, elementary teachers

OCLC Number


Research Data and Supplementary Material