Education Doctorate

Year Approved


First Advisor

Reimer, Tracy


The purpose of this study was to investigate the personal, institutional, and environmental factors that influenced a principal’s decision to leave his or her school. Respondents included six elementary principals in rural Minnesota who left their positions within the past year. Interviews were recorded, transcribed, coded, and analyzed for themes. Transferability and credibility were enhanced through the participation of the researcher in a bracketing interview to identify potential biases, independent coding by an outside analyst of the bracketing and regular interviews, and repeated checks with respondents about transcriptions, codes, and themes. Themes were codes that occurred in at least four of the six interviews and included Career Opportunities, Family Needs, Community Expectations, Workload, Lack of Professional Support, Superintendent and School Board Decisions: General Decisions or Relationship, and Superintendent and School Board Decisions: Principal Salary and Contract Negotiations. The factors relating to superintendent and school board were not present in existing literature in the United States and could be explored in future research, as could various geographic, school-level, and school-type contexts.

Degree Name

Education Doctorate

Document Type

Doctoral dissertation