STRIVE has identified several key reasons and examples from multiple sources why teachers choose to stay in a school. How many of these reasons are being implemented in your school? How is your school determining what is working to retain talented teachers and what steps can be taken to improve?

Professional Growth

Opportunities for professional development and career growth within the school or district contribute to a teacher’s decision to remain at a school (New Leaders).

  • Example: Develop clear pathways for career advancement within the education field and support teachers in pursuing leadership roles or specializations​​.
  • ResourceProfessional Growth Ideas
Positive Impact on Students

Teachers who feel they can positively affect their students’ lives are more likely to stay, valuing the meaningful work and the opportunity to make a difference (RAND Corporation).


Strong relationships with students, colleagues, and the community help retain teachers. These relationships foster a supportive and collaborative environment (McKinsey & Company; New Leaders).

  • Example: Foster professional learning communities within the school and be purposeful in development of teams (i.e., grade level/department AND also interest with a book study or focus area from the school improvement plan). Facilitate social events that build camaraderie among staff (i.e., early morning coffee and book study, pot lucks where teachers identify positives/celebrations about their colleagues, lunch and learns)​​​​.
Administrative Support

Adequate support from school administrators is crucial. When teachers feel supported by their leaders, particularly through mentorship and professional development opportunities, they are more likely to stay (NASSP; New Leaders).

  • Example: Meet with teachers about their goals and ideas for professional growth…beyond teacher evaluation meetings. Get into classrooms to celebrate the good things teachers are doing. Offer regular, structured mentorship programs and instructional coaching for all teachers, with an emphasis on supporting new teachers​​​​.
Equity-Focused Leadership

Teachers are motivated to stay when school leadership prioritizes equitable practices that benefit all members of the school community, including historically underserved populations (New Leaders).

  • Example: Conduct regular training on equity and inclusion (1- Understanding the difference between equity and equality, 2- culturally responsive teaching, 3- recognizing and countering bias, 4- Providing an inclusive curriculum), and ensure that the school’s policies and practices reflect a commitment to equity for all students and staff.
Cultural Fit

Being able to align personal beliefs and values with the school’s culture and being oneself at work are significant factors (McKinsey & Company).

  • Example: Engage teachers in the development of the school’s mission and values. Revisit and update the mission and values at least yearly to ensure teachers have buy-in. take time to ask teachers about their beliefs and values and how you can better support them. 
Work-Life Balance

Having enough time for personal life and not being overburdened with work are important for teachers’ well-being (McKinsey & Company).

  • Example: Implement policies that respect teachers’ time, such as reasonable expectations for work hours and a focus on quality (high-quality professional development that is well planned and includes time for teachers to plan how they will implement the new learning) over quantity in planning and professional development​​.  Work with a leadership team to identify what can be flexible and what cannot (i.e., giving time to get time- coming in early for 3 days so a teacher can leave one day for a personal appointment and have a colleague cover the class. Be well planned with meetings so they are quick and efficient. When possible, send emails with quick checks for understanding (i.e., google form with questions that teachers answer based on the email content) instead of a meeting.
Job Satisfaction

When teachers are satisfied with their jobs, which can be influenced by leadership and recognition, they tend to stay longer in the profession (NASSP).

  • Example: Recognize and celebrate teacher successes, both big and small, through awards, acknowledgments in staff meetings, and positive feedback​​. Developing teacher leaders with professional growth is a way to celebrate and acknowledge teachers. 



A safe work environment, where teachers do not fear for their physical safety, is critical for teacher retention (RAND Corporation).

  • Example: Ensure a safe school environment by maintaining facilities, enforcing discipline policies fairly, and providing training on crisis management and conflict resolution​​. Develop a multi-tiered behavior plan so teachers know the expectations of themselves and students and the pathway for behavioral supports. 
  • Resource: Teacher’s Encyclopedia of Behavior Management (AMAZING BOOK! Every teacher should own this book).

Although not always the top factor, competitive compensation, including benefits, does play a role in teacher retention (McKinsey & Company). Why can’t we just pay teachers $100,000 a year? They deserve it and districts and schools would be able to recruit and retain the most talented adults to take care of our children and especially our most impacted children. money

  • Resource: Advocate for competitive salaries and benefits, provide stipends for extracurricular activities and advanced degrees, and offer grants for classroom supplies. Budget money for teachers to use for classroom supplies, even if it is just $50. Ask community partners (individuals and businesses) for money and discounts. Create a staff discount card with local businesses.

By focusing on these specific actions, hopefully school leaders can address some of the core reasons teachers stay in their roles, leading to a more stable, satisfied, and talented team of teachers. 

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