If We Get You, How Can We Keep You? Problems with Recruiting and Retaining Rural Administrators

Jo Nell Wood, Kim Finch, Rachel M. Mirecki


The focus on instructional leadership has reached a crescendo with the waivers for No Child Left Behind (2002). The leadership of the principal is known to be a key factor in supporting student achievement; however, recruitment and retention of administrators in rural areas of the Midwest is very difficult. This survey research study explored the recruitment and retention strategies, as well as factors influencing the loss or retention of quality administrators reported by Midwest superintendents. The themes that emerged as successful recruitment strategies included ‘growing your own’ as the number one method of recruiting and retaining rural school administrators, salaries/benefits depending on location, emphasizing positive working conditions and climate/culture, and providing quality professional development. Retention strategies that worked well for rural schools were an emphasis on a positive school culture and climate, investment in professional development, and use of technology for mentoring along with increased benefits.


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