Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Educational Leadership, Research and Technology

First Advisor

Dr. Louann Bierlein Palmer

Second Advisor

Dr. Dennis McCrumb

Third Advisor

Dr. Mark Rainey


teacher, job satisfaction, teacher career stages, principal leadership


The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore the perceptions of teachers as to how the leadership of their principal affects their job satisfaction. This study collected the view of teachers at different career stages and examined their perceptions and needs. The participants consisted of 12 elementary school teachers at three different career stages (beginning, middle, and late).

Qualitative analysis of the interview data revealed three major themes and nine subthemes.

The first theme reveals that principal leadership style is not consistent and includes the subthemes: (1.1) principals are not successfully sharing their vision with teachers, (1.2) principals attempt to support teachers, but are not able to meet all their needs, and (1.3) principals are only partially perceived as effective leaders.

The second theme reveals that teachers find satisfaction in their jobs and includes the subthemes: (2.1) teachers find job satisfaction working with people (which includes students, teachers, and parents), (2.2) teachers are satisfied with the curriculum they teach, and (2.3) teacher job satisfaction is affected by principal leadership.

The final theme reveals that, teacher needs are based on career stage, and includes the subthemes: (3.1) beginning teachers would like more support, (3.2) middle stage teachers seek more time to collaborate with colleagues and prepare for classroom instruction, (3.3) late career stage teachers seek more support in learning how to educate today’s students.

This study confirmed that principal leadership effort can affect job satisfaction, and that principals need to be aware of the needs of their teachers. It also confirms that knowledge of teacher career stages can help principals create better working partnerships and determine the professional development needs of their staff. The findings of this study contribute to the literature on teacher job satisfaction and principal leadership by providing a better understanding of how teacher job satisfaction can be impacted by the perceptions that teachers have of principal leadership.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access