School of Education


Doctor of Education (EdD)


Gary W. Kuhne


Educational Ministry, Motivation, Persistence, Teacher Attrition, Teacher Calling, Urban K-12 Christian Education


Curriculum and Social Inquiry | Education | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | Educational Psychology | Other Education | Social and Philosophical Foundations of Education


The purpose of this transcendental phenomenological study was to describe the lived experiences of teachers who persist in urban K-12 Christian education at five Association of Christian Schools International schools located in the United States. The central research question was: What are the lived experiences of teachers who persist in urban K-12 Christian education? Sub-questions explored the source of motivation, role of intrinsic goals, and contextual/environmental supports for teachers who persist in this setting. Methodology utilized a transcendental phenomenological design, purposeful participant sampling, data collection primarily through in-depth interviews and focus groups, and data analysis using Moustakas’ (1994) recommended procedures. The centrality of faith and calling to educational ministry and the emphasis on value congruence were indicated as strong contributors to participant long-term persistence. Implications for administrators underscored the efficacy of (a) exploring the role of faith and calling with prospective and current faculty and (b) promoting an autonomy-conducive environment (Deci & Ryan, 1985; Ryan & Deci, 2000) in supporting longevity and effectiveness for teachers in urban K-12 Christian education.