This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

An Investigation of Factors that Affect Teacher Retention in East Alabama Rural Schools




Lucy, Tyaunnaka

Type of Degree

PhD Dissertation


Curriculum and Teaching


Many small rural school districts are consistently faced with the challenge of recruiting and retaining teachers (Lowe, 2006). These districts are faced with challenging factors such as low funding and being geographically isolated that influence teachers to leave these areas more often than urban and suburban areas. With Alabama being one of thirteen states where rural education is crucial in the overall educational performance (Johnson & Strange, 2007), it is very important to understand the factors present in rural schools and how these factors impact teachers and their intentions. To aid in retaining more teachers in rural schools, this study sought to expand our knowledge of this issue by exploring why teachers remain and leave their teaching positions. The purpose of this quantitative study was to investigate the strategies and factors present in rural schools based on the perceptions of teachers. The study was conducted in rural school districts located in the East Alabama Regional In-service area. Data were collected by survey. As a result of the study, teachers noted having a strong support system, competitive salaries, and a positive working environment were major factors that influenced their intentions to stay in their current positions. Others that lacked support experienced more behavior problems and felt burned out due to an increased workload and paperwork reported that they would likely leave their current teaching positions due to these factors. The findings in this study will assist educators in understanding why teachers are leaving rural school districts in hopes that strategies will be developed to reduce the number of teachers leaving these districts.