Cultivating A Nurturing School Culture: School Leadership That Promotes Teacher Retention

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The National Center for Education Statistics (2008) research found that teacher turnover costs school districts approximately seven billion dollars annually across the nation. According to the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future (NCTAF) (2014), the national average leaving the teaching profession is 16.5%. The Texas Education Agency (2012) noted that the state of Texas alone lost nearly 36,500 teachers in 2010-2011. Historically, the Texas teacher-turnover rate hovers between 14% and 16%, which amounts to an enormous loss of between $329 million and $2.1 billion per year according to the industry cost model (SBEC, 2000). A review of selected literature revealed frequently cited reasons for teacher retention as leadership support, beginning teacher support, compensation, shared decision-making, professional development, career advancement opportunities, support for working with students, safe facilities, school culture, and teacher workload. Hirsh & Emerick (2007) indicated that “teachers with positive perceptions about their working conditions are much more likely to stay at their current school than educators who are more negative about their conditions of work, particularly in the areas of leadership and empowerment” (p. 14).

This mixed-method study identified factors from teachers’ and principals’ perspectives of school culture and principal leadership practices that may encourage teachers to stay at their schools. The purpose of this study identified awareness factors that may assist school leaders in implementing practices related to cultivating a nurturing school culture that promotes teacher retention. The study indicated that positive teacher-leader relationships, supportive school leadership, collegial support, campus mentorship, positive work conditions, compensation, training, and shared decision-making best promoted teacher retention.

Implications for school leaders to consider are teachers input regarding leadership practices and regard for factors that assist in cultivating a school culture conducive to teacher retention.

School leadership, Teacher retention