Campus Location

Dallas Campus (Online)

Date of Award



Document Type



Organizational Leadership

Degree Name

Doctor of Education

Committee Chair or Primary Advisor

Erika Pinter

Second Committee Member or Secondary Advisor

Julie Lane

Third Committee Member or Committee Reader

Bruce Scott



Teacher attrition is a significant contributor to the teacher shortages, with preretirement attrition accounting for two thirds of all attrition. Special education teachers leave teaching at significantly higher rates than their general education peers. In addition, there is a greater demand for special education teachers due to the increase in public school students requiring special education services. As a result, many K–12 administrators and other educational leaders often fill vacant positions with unqualified or new teachers with less experience than their predecessors. Special education teachers have reported that teachers who remained in their positions reported high levels of administrative support. The purpose of this qualitative descriptive study was to investigate factors and supports that influenced special education teacher attrition as perceived by incumbent K–12 campus administrators from a large urban public school district within a Southwestern U.S. state. The intent of the research was to add value to the current literature and assist in creating/adopting policies or procedures that may influence the retention of special education teachers and lower the rate of teacher shortages. The research efforts were focused on gathering data from a population that consisted of current K–12 campus administrators currently employed at a public school with varying degrees of experience to gain perceptions on factors that contributed to special education teacher attrition. Using the path goal theory of leadership to develop interview questions, the researcher interviewed 11 current K–12 public school campus administrators using synchronous semistructured interview techniques via the Zoom digital platform. The sample was determined by purposeful sampling. The study revealed that K–12 administrators believed that their leadership behavior affected special education teacher’s decisions to remain in the profession. However, K-12 administrators believed district leadership behaviors were what influenced special education teachers to leave their positions.

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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