Date of Award

Spring 3-2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Dr. Kathy Grover

Second Advisor

Dr. Terry Reid

Third Advisor

Dr. Sherry DeVore


High teacher attrition and low teacher retention rates continue to plague the field of special education, which leads to teacher shortages year after year (Andrews & Brown, 2015; Vittek, 2015). Solutions for increasing special education teacher retention continue to be explored (Billingsley, 2005; Brownell & Sindelar, 2016; Tyler & Brunner, 2014). The purpose of this study was to discover trends or themes connecting special education teacher work conditions and job satisfaction, principal support, and decisions of teachers to continue teaching special education. Participants for this study were special education teachers and principals from 60 accredited public K-12 school districts in Missouri. Participants received an online survey to provide their perceptions of special education work conditions, needs, and supports. Frequencies and percentages of responses were calculated and categorized. Findings revealed, overall, special education teachers need more time to complete paperwork, develop lessons and activities, and collaborate with teachers. Special education teachers did not receive additional compensation for extra workload responsibilities. Special education teacher job satisfaction was 76.6%, and while the majority of teachers reported plans to continue teaching special education, 11.4% of teachers did not plan to continue. Principals did not perceive a need for special education teachers to have additional time to complete paperwork, develop lessons and activities, or collaborate with other teachers. Principals did not perceive the need for special education teachers to receive additional compensation for their workloads, and they perceived special education teacher job satisfaction at 100%.


Copyright 2018