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Retention, Mobility, and Attrition among School and District Leaders in Colorado, Missouri, and South Dakota

Region:
Central
Description:

Educators from Colorado, Missouri, and South Dakota share concerns about changes in school and district leadership. They have expressed interest in better understanding school and district leader mobility and attrition, and related factors. This report describes the proportions of school and district leaders who remained in leadership positions in the same schools or districts (stayers), transferred to leadership positions in different schools or districts (movers), or took nonleadership positions or left the state public school system (leavers) in Colorado, Missouri, and South Dakota. The report also describes the extent to which characteristics of principals, schools, and districts were associated with the likelihood of principals being movers or leavers rather than stayers. The authors used administrative data from 2015/16 to 2018/19, provided by the state education agencies. Results suggest that the proportions of school and district leaders who were stayers after one year ranged from 77 to 82 percent and that the proportions of stayers after three years ranged from 51 to 56 percent. After three years, younger principals were more likely to be movers and older principals were more likely to be leavers, compared to their peers. Principals who identified as a racial/ethnic minority and those who earned lower salaries were also more likely to be movers or leavers. In addition, principals were more likely to move from or leave schools that the state identified as needing additional support for improvement and schools in lower-performing districts. Findings suggest that decisionmakers may wish to better understand the causes of leader mobility and attrition and enhance supports for younger principals, principals who identify as a racial/ethnic minority, and principals in low-performing schools.

Publication Type:
Descriptive Study
Online Availability:
Publication Date:
August 2020