To download dissertations and theses, please click on the appropriate "Download" button for your campus to log in and be e-verified. When you reach the "Sign into your JWU email" page, enter your JWU username and password.

Non-JWU users: Please talk to your librarian about requesting this dissertation through interlibrary loan.

Principals' Perceptions of Factors Leading to Job Retention in a Small Northeast State

Erin Fleming Quinlan-Crandall, Johnson & Wales University


The retention of quality school leaders is critical to school success and improvement (Fuller, Orr, & Young, 2008; National Association of Elementary and Secondary Principals, 2013; School Leaders Network, 2015). It is unlikely that student achievement will improve in schools with rapid turnover of school principals (Mascall & Leithwood, 2010). Research contends that fifty percent of new principals will quit within three years of being hired and those that do stay often leave high poverty schools for less demanding leadership roles (Fuller et al., 2008; School Leaders Network, 2015). School change is more successfully implemented when a principal remains in the position for a minimum of three to five years (Fuller, Young, & Baker, 2007). Understanding what factors lead to principal job retention may provide insight to minimize principal turnover and increase student achievement. The purpose of this explanatory, sequential, mixed methods study was to investigate the factors that lead to principal job retention in traditional public elementary and secondary schools in a small northeast state. This study addressed the following research questions: 1. What factors do principals rate as important for job retention in their current position? 2. What is the relationship between principal identified factors related to job retention and the following demographic variables: gender, school urbanicity, school level, school enrollment, socio-economic status, priority school status, overall happiness in their current job, and principal tenure status? 3. How do principals describe the factors that influence their job retention? During the quantitative phase, a questionnaire was administered to elementary and secondary principals (N=270) to measure perceptions of the factors that contribute to their decisions to persist in their current positions. During the qualitative phase, interviews (n=6) were conducted to explore how principals describe the factors that contribute to job retention. Significant findings were found related to school level, priority school status, overall happiness, and principal tenure. Six prominent themes emerged from the qualitative data. Results from this study may benefit school superintendents and other educational leaders to help them better identify the conditions necessary to retain school leadership that may lead to student academic success and decrease principal turnover.

Subject Area

Educational leadership|Educational administration|Education

Recommended Citation

Quinlan-Crandall, Erin Fleming, "Principals' Perceptions of Factors Leading to Job Retention in a Small Northeast State" (2017). Dissertation & Theses Collection. AAI10285141.