Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Curriculum and Instruction

First Committee Member

Jane McCarthy

Number of Pages



Over 40 percent of teachers leave the profession within the first five years (Darling-Hammond, 2003; Berry, 2004), and turnover is higher in schools characterized as hard to staff (Ingersoll, 2001). Hard to staff schools often have higher attrition rates, and also have a higher percentage of under qualified teachers (Berry, 2004). The need to retain highly qualified teachers in teaching positions in hard to staff schools is critical because teachers are less likely to continue to teach in schools characterized as such. A multi-case study design was employed to investigate four teachers who have taught in hard to staff schools beyond five years, meaning they were in their sixth year of teaching or later in a hard to staff school. A survey was used to obtain baseline data such as number of years teaching, the type of teacher education completed, the professional development completed, and the type of induction or mentoring components completed; Four teachers were provided with cameras to take pictures of what it meant to them to continue to teach in hard to staff schools. Teachers ranked the photographs in order of importance prior to the interview and the photos were then used to facilitate the interview process, which is a technique called photographic interviewing (Merriam, 1998). The interview transcripts were recorded using iPod technology, transcribed, and analyzed using content analysis and categorical analysis; The findings supported recent research, which has found working conditions impact teacher retention. Three out of the four teachers identified collegial support as a factor that stimulated their retention. Two teachers named the concern for students and their academic success as a reason they stayed. Additional factors that stimulated retention for these teachers were confidence in teaching skills, school climate, and access to technology. This study aimed to provide researchers, teachers, administrators, policy makers, and community members with insights regarding the factors that affect highly qualified teachers' decisions to remain teaching in hard to staff schools.


Case Study; Hard; Hard To Staff Schools; Photographic Interviewing; Photographs; Retention; Schools; Staff; Study; Teachers; Teacher Retention; Veteran

Controlled Subject

Curriculum planning; School management and organization

File Format


File Size

2621.44 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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