Factors influencing Teacher Recruitment and Retention in the Texas Panhandle




Garrison, Mark

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Existing literature does not provide clear findings regarding factors that most influence teacher recruitment and retention in the Texas Panhandle. This concurrent multi-strand mixed-method design explored factors that influence teacher recruitment and retention in the region's rural school districts using four years of Texas Education Agency data, a 28-item questionnaire administered to the region's principals, along with interviews of a subset of surveyed building leaders. No single variable was significantly associated with or predictive of district teacher turnover rates. Questionnaire and interview data suggest improving recruitment and retention in the region requires tailored responses, ones derived from a deep understanding of school and community context.


This study adopted a concurrent multi-strand mixed-method design to identify factors that influence teacher recruitment and retention in the region's rural school districts (Region 16, rural as defined by the National Center for Educational Statistics). The quantitative strand analyzed Region 16 district data obtained from the Texas Education Agency for the 2018-2021 academic years (Texas Academic Performance Reports and Public Education Information Management System data were used). Counts and percentages for more than 20 variables for rural Region 16 districts were obtained (e.g., district-level teacher turnover and achievement, enrollment, student and teacher demographics, teacher salary, class size). The 2020-21 AY TEA data was not made available until October 2022. In addition to descriptive analysis of teacher turnover trends, post-hoc exploratory analysis techniques were performed using Observation Oriented Modeling software (OOM) to ascertain relationships between teacher turnover rates and each variable, and to identify variable clusters. Time-based relationships between identified variable clusters and teacher turnover rates were tested using the Ordinal Pattern Analysis (Concatenated Orderings) function in the OOM software. The qualitative strand involved sending a researcher-developed questionnaire to Region 16 building principals (n = 224) to identify perceptions of the extent and nature of the problem, and factors that may influence teacher recruitment and retention not appearing in state data systems. The survey also aimed to determine the most common strategies used to recruit and retain teachers in the region. Surveys were administered during the months of June and July 2021. The 28-item questionnaire included both fixed and open response items, ending with an invitation to leaders to be interviewed about their experience in recruiting and retaining teachers. While only 14 leaders completed the survey, six leaders volunteered to be interviewed. Semi-structured interviewed were conducted in October and November 2021. Interviews explored leaders' perceptions of the most important factors influencing recruitment and retention, strategies for recruiting and retaining qualified teachers, and if working in rural communities requires specific preparation and support. Interviews also offered insights into how the pandemic affected teacher recruitment and retention. Survey data were analyzed using the OOM software in the fall of 2022. Interviews were transcribed in the spring of 2022. After removing of identifying information, the PI coded transcripts in the fall of 2022. A second round of coding is now being completed by a research assistant.


2023 Faculty and Student Research Poster Session and Research Fair, West Texas A&M University, Graduate School, Poster, Teacher retention, Teacher recruitment, Rural community, Texas Panhandle, Rural school district


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