Short Title

Teacher Retention


teacher retention, rural schools, rural school leadership


This qualitative study investigated what factors kept teachers committed to teaching in one rural east Texas school district despite the perceived educational inequalities of rural districts compared to suburban and urban districts. When it comes to teacher retention, rural school leaders cite school environment and community lifestyle compatibility as the primary reasons for staying. Despite the considerable number of rural school districts throughout the United States, research continues to largely ignore the unique relationships found in rural locales. Rural school districts offer many advantages over their suburban and urban counterparts; it is a matter of identifying what is important to rural teachers and attending to those needs. In an effort to improve teacher retention, the first-year superintendent of a small rural school district in east Texas wanted to know why some teachers stayed while others left. To examine the affect of rurality on teacher retention, 98 teachers responded to an online questionnaire on what kept them in the district, followed by 10 teachers randomly selected from the group for an in-depth face-to-face interview to probe further into their reasons for staying. Using a progressive refinement two-cycle coding technique, several themes emerged explaining their reasons for staying. If rural school district leaders can better understand the reasons why teachers remain in rural districts, then they can improve their retention efforts. The study concludes with a review of recommended strategies that rural school district leaders can implement to incentive teachers to stay.



Tell us how this article helped you.


To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.