Campus Location

Dallas Campus (Online)

Date of Award


Document Type



Organizational Leadership

Degree Name

Doctor of Education

Committee Chair or Primary Advisor

Irma Harper

Second Committee Member or Secondary Advisor

Linnea Rademaker

Third Committee Member or Committee Reader

Christie Bledsoe


Although there is a great deal of research literature available on the causes for and the impact of teacher attrition and research on professionalism, there is little research to prove what connection, if any, exists between the two. The purpose of this qualitative, phenomenological study was to determine whether the development of a strong professional identity could positively impact teacher retention in a specific school. The research was conducted by first gathering baseline data from teachers who took 2 established surveys, the Job Satisfaction Survey (JSS) and the Professional Self-Identity Questionnaire (PSIQ). Focus group interviews with volunteer teachers followed. Survey findings indicated that teachers in the study context felt largely professional but also largely unsatisfied with their jobs. Interview data detailed these findings further. First, teachers identified having a strong professional identity as crucial for helping them to persist in an increasingly difficult profession. They clarified professionalism as including effective communication and collaboration as well as effective teaching. Additionally, interview data pointed to leadership, support, feedback, and climate as critical factors for professional identity development. For leaders, the study clarifies that campus leaders must model professionalism by establishing clear boundaries and expectations, communicating clearly, transparently, and professionally, giving meaningful feedback, and establishing a supportive, collaborative culture around a common vision. While teachers felt it was important to be viewed as professionals by students and parents, the participants invariably said that teacher professionalism starts with the campus leadership setting the tone.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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