Campus Location

Dallas Campus (Online)

Date of Award


Document Type



Organizational Leadership

Degree Name

Doctor of Education

Committee Chair or Primary Advisor

Jennifer Butcher

Second Committee Member or Secondary Advisor

Dianne Reed

Third Committee Member or Committee Reader

Mark Weatherly


Teacher shortages have plagued U.S. school districts for many years now as special education and other high-need fields struggle to retain highly qualified teachers. School leaders must gain a better understanding of why special education teachers are leaving at such alarming rates in order to formulate a plan for improving retention. The purpose of this qualitative descriptive study was to examine how campus administrators’ relationships influence the retention of special education teachers. Leader-member exchange theory, which contends that the relationships between leaders and followers impact our work environment and job satisfaction, served as the theoretical framework of this study. A qualitative descriptive study using the Rashomon effect was designed to gather and share the perspectives of both special education teachers and administrators on the topic. Ten individuals (six special education teachers and four campus administrators) at the elementary school level served as study participants. Semi structured interviews were conducted to gather participants’ perceptions and analyzed to find common themes amongst the two groups. The perspectives of the two groups were presented concurrently as well as compared and contrasted. The findings suggest disparities among the two groups regarding the responsibilities of special education teachers and how administrators can best support them. Results suggest that administrators are aware of the challenges special education teachers face; however, they are not in a position to fix some things that the district controls. Suggestions for the local school district and recommendations for future study were discussed. Keywords: Leader-member exchange theory, support, special education, administrators, retention, attrition

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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