Document Type



Doctor of Education



Date of Defense


Graduate Advisor

James V. Shuls, Ph.D.


Kathleen Sullivan Brown


Kathleen Sullivan Brown

Jean B. Crockett

Carole H. Murphy

James V. Shuls


The field of special education administration has experienced a shortage of high quality special education leadership candidates for several decades. If school districts are to effectively address the turnover of educational leaders, they must know what is happening that affects turnover of their leadership team. The intent of this study was to determine what dynamics and perceptions contribute to special education administrators remaining on the job or leaving the position. The literature indicates a need for studies to address why these administrators remain in their roles. The literature also indicates a need for identifying what influences their decisions to remain or leave the role of special education administrator. The voices empowered within this work help us to see what is below the surface of special education administrator turnover. This research sought to determine perceptions and dynamics that motivate special education administrators to remain in their positions. Based on the results from the inquiry, this researcher concludes there are four interwoven themes that contribute to turnover of the special education administrator. The themes revealed include money, lack of support, stress and politics. These data are consistent with the previous literature. However, other studies did not include commentaries from those who held special education leadership roles. Data for this qualitative inquiry were gathered through an online survey and interviews with both current and former special education administrators. This study went below the surface of special education administrator turnover with its participants to determine what dynamics and perceptions impact decision making when considering to stay or leave their leadership position.

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