School of Education


Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)


Lisa Foster


Climate, Retention, Education, Attrition, Culture, Autonomy, Leadership, Induction, Community, Distributed Leadership, Motivation, Responsibility, Recognition, Self-efficacy


Education | Educational Administration and Supervision


This quantitative correlational study examined the strength of the correlations between school climate and teacher retention in rural, low-income elementary schools in North Carolina. In addition to identifying the overall relationship of school climate to teacher retention, this study examined the relationships between the overall climate factors (autonomy, community, induction, shared leadership, responsibility, and recognition) and teacher retention. Utilizing data from the North Carolina Teacher Working Conditions Survey (NC TWCS), 150 teachers were surveyed. Teachers included in the data collection were identified as working in low-income and rural schools, serving pre-kindergarten to fifth grade. Existing data was requested from school districts and placed in a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet. Data was then uploaded to SPSS software for correlation and regression analysis. This study found a relationship between the overall school climate and teacher retention. It also indicated the mediating factors of leadership, autonomy, and recognition as having a relationship with retention, while factors of responsibility, community, and induction had little to no relationship. The findings of this study serve an important role in solving the teacher retention problem in North Carolina schools and provide information for school leaders in creating positive climates that promote retention.