Thesis Title

Examining the Role of Principals in the Retention of New Teachers

Graduation Date

Spring 2011

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Document Form


Degree Name

Master of Science

Program Name


Program Director

Madeliene Peters, EdD


New teachers are faced with many challenges during the first few years of teaching. They have to adjust to a new work environment, interact with parents, resolve a variety of conflicts, and design stimulating lessons for their students-often with few resources at hand. The large and varied workload that teachers carry during their first few years can often be overwhelming and intimidating. Without the proper support from their colleagues and principal, the likelihood of new teachers leaving the profession is high. In fact, it is estimated that fifty percent of new teachers leave the profession within five years of teaching. This is a chronic issue for schools and districts across America. The turnover of new teachers is very harmful to our Nation's school system—both financially and due to the discontinuity it brings within school communities

While school districts have little flexibility over the amount of money allotted to the support of first-time teachers, they can control the specific methods used and quality of their support. One of the most influential factors in determining new teacher retention is the level of support from the principal and school administration.

The purpose of this study is to examine the role principals play in the retention— or turnover—of first-time teachers, and to learn what cost-effective methods principals can utilize to provide support for their new teachers.

This study follows a qualitative design using interviews as the format. The participants in my data collection were new teachers with three years or less teaching experience and an experienced education professional and writer. Results indicated that much can be done at the school level to retain new teachers, however much of the power to make this happen lies in the hands of the principal.

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