School of Education


Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)


Billie Jean Holubz


well-being, basic psychological needs, educator, phenomenology, independent private school


Education | Educational Leadership


The purpose of this qualitative transcendental phenomenological study was to understand educators’ experiences of well-being at independent private schools. The theory guiding this study was Deci and Ryan’s theory on basic psychological needs. It identifies that the basic psychological needs of relatedness, competence, and autonomy are universal and underlay optimal well-being. I used a qualitative transcendental phenomenological approach to seek in-depth information from the participants about their lived experiences of well-being at independent private schools. The central research question was: How do independent private school educators describe their experiences concerning workplace well-being? Sub-questions addressed well-being related to basic psychological needs: autonomy, relatedness, and belonging. I used private independent schools as the setting for this study. I selected participants who met the study criteria, utilizing purposeful sampling methods. I gathered in-depth descriptions of participants’ experiences through interviews, context maps, and focus groups. Seven themes emerged from the literature: varied definitions of well-being, belonging, agency, competence, individual influence, environment, and experiences of ill-being. Analysis of the findings resulted in two key understandings: belonging is critical for educators’ experiences of positive well-being at independent private schools, and well-being is a composite of elements that is unique to individuals.