Special Education teacher retention has been a chronic concern for administrators for the past 45 years. Since 1975 when the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) was passed, providing Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) to students with exceptionalities, school districts' ability to hire appropriately licensed Special Education teachers has been a continual concern. Additionally, Special Education teachers’ turnover rate exceeds that of many other content areas in education. The Special Education teacher's attrition rates who have completed an alternate route to licensure program have been even greater than traditionally trained Special Education teachers. The study’s quantitative research has focused on a group of 32 alternatively prepared Special Education teachers and the reasons for their retention in their current positions. The alternatively prepared group of educators has defied the reported statistics of attrition rates and stayed with their districts and in their teaching positions for over one year, which is the length of time most alternatively prepared teachers stay. Data for the study were gathered by distributing a Likert scale survey developed around Situational Leadership and Sense of Place theories. Three factors emerged from the survey results. The teacher's relationship with the building administrator at the onset of the school year and throughout the school year arose as a high-rated element for retention. Furthermore, the relationship teachers have with their students and the teacher's residential location in proximity to the school also emerged as influential retention factors. The study results will contribute to the body of literature regarding the retention of alternatively licensed Special Education teachers.

Date Dissertation Completed


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctorate of Education


Education Studies

Dissertation Advisor

Rhea R. Walker

Dissertation Committee Members

James F. Kirk, Carol A. Long



Meghan W Sinning Final Defense Presentation CoE EdD Spring 2021.pdf (1604 kB)
Meghan W. Sinning Final Defense Presentation CoE EdD Spring 2021



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