Date of Award


Degree Type

Education Specialist

Degree Name

Education Specialist


Education, Leadership and Public Service


Administration and Supervision (Ed.S.)

First Advisor/Chairperson

Bethney Bergh


Currently, staff shortages exist in all areas of education. In the field of special education, there are sub-groups of teachers and classrooms, each with unique challenges. This study explores the experiences of teachers of students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) disability in order to identify important retention factors specific to them. In this qualitative, phenomenological study, the researcher conducted four, one-on-one interviews to discover the district-related factors shared by teachers of students with ASD when considering staying or leaving their current position. Interview responses were categorized into the four themes critical to teacher retention according to the four capital theory (Mason & Matas, 2015): human capital, social capital, structural capital, and positive psychological capital. While findings from this study revealed teachers of students with ASD experienced a lack of relevant district provided professional development, leadership presence and support, and various other supports needed to meet job expectations, the findings also revealed the positive factors of the participants’ relationships among students and TEAMs as well as the job reward and job motivation provided by their students. This data suggests the retention factors for teachers of students with ASD are strong, positive relationships between themselves and their students and TEAMs as well as the success of their students. It is also noted that the lack of necessary identified supports for this research group could ultimately have a negative impact on those positive relationships and student successes.

Access Type

Open Access