Educational Research and Reviews

  • Abbreviation: Educ. Res. Rev.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1990-3839
  • DOI: 10.5897/ERR
  • Start Year: 2006
  • Published Articles: 2006

Full Length Research Paper

Principal characteristics' effect on teacher retention: A systematic review

Darron L. Shell
  • Darron L. Shell
  • Department of Education, Health, and Social Work, University of the District Columbia, 4250 Connecticut Avenue NW, Bldg. 71, Washington, DC 20008, USA.
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Carletta S. Hurt
  • Carletta S. Hurt
  • Department of Architecture and Urban Sustainability, University of the District Columbia, 4250 Connecticut Avenue NW, Bldg. 71, Washington, DC 20008, USA.
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Hiraetta White
  • Hiraetta White
  • Department of Faculty Planning and Compliance, 8860 E. Chaparral Road, Suite 100, Scottsdale, Arizona 85250, USA.
  • Google Scholar

  •  Received: 21 February 2023
  •  Accepted: 07 April 2023
  •  Published: 30 June 2023


Teacher attrition and retention are among the major problems in schools worldwide. Particularly in the United States, there is a great demand for teachers in elementary and secondary schools because of teachers transferring to new schools or resigning from the teaching profession altogether. This systematic review focuses on research on the prevalent decline of teacher retention in American elementary and secondary schools. This review aims to communicate reasons for the decrease in teacher retention and consider the impacts of teacher decline on students' academic success. Three databases – Web of Science, Science Direct, and Pro Quest – were utilized to obtain evidence to substantiate the causes and effects of the wave of teacher resignations. The evidence was analyzed to determine reliability using the PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses) and Cochrane review guidelines. The synthesis analysis included fourteen studies. It was clear from the synthesis that support and clear communication from school principals are essential factors of teacher retention in U.S. elementary and secondary schools. Other notable elements that prevent teacher turnover include recognizing the efforts of teachers, enforcing discipline and compliance among the student population, and conducting fair teacher evaluations. To improve teacher retention rates in the United States, school principals must adopt characteristics contributing to teacher retention.


Key words:  Teacher, attrition, retention rates, school principals, elementary, secondary.