Rural Education: Attracting and Retaining Teachers in Small Schools

Jerry M. Lowe


For many small rural school districts across America, the effort to attract and retain quality teachers continues to be a major concern. Schools located in what are considered to be “hard to staff” areas experience the most difficult. While not all communities face the problems of inadequate teacher supply, many small and rural school districts recognize this as a continuing critical issue. A variety of factors contribute to the problems of recruiting and retaining teachers in small and rural school. This article will address the most common causes of high turnover rate among teachers in the rural schools and offer a variety of strategies that may be considered by local school administrators.


Barnett, B., & Hirsch, E. (2005). Recruiting and retaining teachers for hard-to-staff schools. NGA Center for Best Practices, Issue Brief. Washington, D.C.

Bennis, W. & Nanus, B. (1985). Leaders: The strategies for taking charge. New York: Harper and Row.

Cunningham, W. & Cordeiro, P. (2000). Educational administration: A problem-based approach. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

Diamond, Christine (2003, October 27). Rusk tries to keep teachers in town. The Lufkin Daily News. Retrieved March 26, 2004, from: http://www.lufkindailynews.

Edmonds, R. (1982). Programs of school improvement: An overview. Educational Leadership, 40, 4-11.

Estrada, V. & Menchaca, V (under review) Piloting a teacher induction model in deep South Texas: Results of a two-year study. Catalyst For Change: Edinburg, TX.

Gallagher, D., Bagin, D., & Moore, E. (2005). The school and community relations (8th Ed.). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

Hare, Debra & Heap, James (2001). Effective teacher recruitment and retention strategies in the Midwest: Who is making use of them? North Central Regional Educational Laboratory. Retrieved April 22, 2000, from:

Morehart, K. (2001). How to create an employee referral program that really works. HRFocus, 78(1), 3-5.

National Partnership for Teaching in At-Risk Schools, (2005) Qualified teachers for at- risk schools: A national imperative. Retrieved on January 10, 2006 from:

National Teacher Recruitment Clearinghouse, (2003). Teacher shortage areas. Retrieved January 12, 2006 from:

Pan, D., Mutchlers, S., Shapley, R., Bush, J., & Glover, K. (November, 2000) Mentoring beginning teachers: Lessons from experience in Texas. Southwest Educational Development Laboratory. Retrieved January 15, 2006, from:

Rebore, R. (2004) Human resources administration in education: A management approach. (7th Ed.). Boston: Pearson/Allyn&Bacon.

Sergiovanni, Thomas J. (2000) The lifeworld of leadership: creating culture, community, and personal meaning in our schools. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.

Short, P. &Greer, J. (1997) Leadership in empowered schools: Themes from innovative efforts. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill

Teacher recruitment and retention: What works in the Midwest? (2001, September). Rural School and Community Trust News. Retrieved May 14, 2000, from: http//

Teacher recruitment, preparation and retention for hard-tostaff schools. (1999, August). Education Commission of The States. Denver, Colorado. Retrieved February 15, 2000, from:

Web, D., & Norton, M. (2003). Human resources administration: Personnel issues and needs in education. (4th Ed.). Upper Saddle river, NJ: Merrill/Prentice-Hall.

Full Text: PDF


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Publication of the National Rural Education Association -

Report problems or questions about to the website to