Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


School of Education

First Advisor

Dr. Ginny Birky

Second Advisor

Dr. Karen Buchanan

Third Advisor

Dr. Susanna Steeg


Nationwide, the attrition rate for beginning teachers is near 50%. As a result, school districts are counting the costs and paying attention to teacher retention in new ways. The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore the experiences of ten early career teachers and four of their mentors to discover how those experiences influenced their decision to remain in the teaching profession. Data was collected through personal interviews with early career teachers and their mentors from one large Oregon school district. Several important findings emerged which have relevance for school leaders, school district leaders, mentoring and induction program coordinators, and the state legislature. The data analysis revealed strong relationships were the main theme and foundation upon which all strategies for teacher retention were based. Participants articulated the influence of the school principal had a significant impact on a teacher’s decision to remain in a specific school and in the teaching profession. Participants experienced robust systems of support within their school district, which positively impacted their sense of value to the district. The data indicated the district’s full-bodied and systematic program of mentoring and induction provided essential support for their early career teachers. Recommendations include the need for state legislatures to make stable funds for comprehensive full-release mentoring and induction programs a priority