Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Michael F DiPaola

Committee Member

Margaret E Constantino

Committee Member

James H Stronge


This dissertation explored a growing concern - the lack of retention of early career teachers (ECTs). We investigated the perceptions of a large sample of ECTs regarding how principal support and job satisfaction affects their decisions to remain in or leave the field of education. We employed an exploratory mixed approach based on a framework derived from DiPaola's (2012) work on principal support. Three surveys collected ECTs' perceptions of principal support, job satisfaction, and their intention to remain in teaching. A series of semi-structured focus group interviews were also used to collect data from ECTs across four school-level configurations in both high and low socioeconomic school settings. Findings revealed ECTs' preferences of different kinds of support from their principals. Although preferences for support did not vary among ECT in different grade level school configurations, there were significant differences in preferences of the kinds of support between teachers in schools with high socioeconomic characteristics versus those in low socioeconomic schools. Strong positive correlations were found between ECT's perceptions of support and their job satisfaction. High levels of ECT's job satisfaction were found to be significant indicators of their intention to remain in the teaching profession. Additionally, principal perceptions of how they support their ECT were compared to the actual perceptions of ECTs. Findings indicate that school socioeconomic factors have the greatest impact on perceptions, teachers value different types of support based on school configuration, and principals and teachers have similar perceptions. The study recommends a differentiated approach to principal support based on socioeconomic factors and, to a limited degree, school performance.




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