Campus Location

Dallas Campus (Online)

Date of Award


Document Type



Organizational Leadership

Degree Name

Doctor of Education

Committee Chair or Primary Advisor

John Harrison

Second Committee Member or Secondary Advisor

Karmyn Downs

Third Committee Member or Committee Reader

Karen Maxwell


School administrators hold complex, varied, and challenging roles. As literature has suggested, these campus leaders must acquire a vast amount of information and knowledge during their formative years in leadership. Yet, the majority have reported that educational preparation programs do not adequately prepare them for the realities of their roles. Without purposeful, structured guidance, school administrators are left to navigate the complexities of their roles with little support or in isolation, which leads to exhaustion, burnout, and attrition. Attrition results in instability for teachers and students and has a financial impact for school districts. The district of study has experienced a high rate of school administrator turnover. Thus, the purpose of this qualitative descriptive study was to explore the perspectives of school administrators in order to better understand how their experiences were reflected in the turnover rate of leaders, why attrition was happening, and whether levels of support were accelerating their departure. Current and former school administrators from the study district participated in semistructured interviews and a focus group. The interviews and focus group session were recorded and transcribed. Data were then coded, and an inductive thematic analysis was conducted to construct six final themes. These themes included career progression, culture, essential characteristics and skills, nature of the work, relationship between principals and assistant principals, and support. The findings from this study revealed that there are specific, high-leverage support systems that school districts can implement and provide to help alleviate the challenges inherent to the school administrator role, to enhance the work that they carry out, and to mitigate 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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