School of Education


Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)


Linda Holcomb


Non-fully Accredited, Urban Schools, Veteran Teachers, Persistence, Retention, Public School


Education | Educational Leadership


The purpose of this phenomenological study was to describe the persistence of veteran teachers in urban, non-fully accredited public schools in eastern Virginia. The central research question of the study asked, How do elementary and/or middle school veteran teachers describe their experiences in urban, non-fully accredited public schools? The sub-questions of the research study focused on teachers’ mindset, motivation, and environmental fit. The theories guiding this study were the mindset and motivation theory by Carol Dweck and the person–environment fit theory by John Holland, as these theories focus on an individual’s motivation to succeed and an individual being the correct fit for the environment in which they are a part. The methodology for the research study was a transcendental phenomenological design using purposeful and criterion sampling of elementary and middle school teachers in urban school settings. The findings of the research study revealed why 10 veteran teachers have persisted in urban, non-fully accredited public schools. Data collection was conducted through an environmental-fit inventory, individual interviews, online focus groups, and participants’ letter writing. All data were analyzed using memoing and coding while bracketing out the researcher’s biases. The research revealed the importance of having a desire to have an impact, environmental fit, type of mindset, and love for students has on the persistence of teachers in challenging educational environments. Recommendations include further research with challenging educational environments in different areas and of quantitative measures.