Committee Chair

Rutledge, Valerie C.

Committee Member

Denning, Rick; Miller, Ted; O'Kelley-Wingate, Kimberly


Dept. of Education


College of Health, Education, and Professional Studies


University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Place of Publication

Chattanooga (Tenn.)


The purpose of this descriptive study was to examine teacher morale and leadership practices as perceived within elementary and middle school teachers and between elementary and middle school teachers within one southeast Tennessee system. The literature presents various theories of leadership, and how individuals who practice those theories impact teacher morale, ultimately affecting teacher job satisfaction and attrition rates. Through information obtained from interviews and survey data, the researcher compared the similarities and differences that existed between teachers at the elementary and middle school levels as these pertained to morale and leadership. All teachers participating in this study completed the Purdue Teacher Opinionaire (PTO) (Bentley & Rempel, 1980) to provide the researcher insight into teacher morale and the effect that leadership practices have on teachers. In addition, this study included interviews with a representative sample of teachers in the five elementary schools and one middle school involved in this research. The teachers were interviewed to gain their perceptions of morale, job satisfaction, and the various leadership practices that have enhanced or diminished their personal levels of workplace satisfaction. The overall goal of the study was to gain a greater understanding of the factors and leadership practices that build and enhance levels of teacher morale and job satisfaction.


First of all, I would like to thank my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. .. THE GREATEST LEADER OF ALL TIMES. You continue to transform lives 2,000 years later. Millions of people around the world continue to follow you and the number continues to grow. In you I live, and move, and have my being. Thank you for placing a desire in me to excel. I believe you have great plans for each of us and I can't wait to see those plans unfold. Jeremiah 29:11-13 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. To my parents, Don and Linda Robinson -Thank you for your love and encouragement throughout my life. My dreams and ambitions were always much bigger than my humble beginnings allowed for. However, you believed in me and did all you could to help me achieve my goals. For that, I am eternally grateful. I love you both. To my brother and sister -Always know that I am proud of you. To my in-laws, Judy Alderson and Bud and Bonita Davidson -A guy couldn't ask for better in-laws. Thank you for your love and support over the years. I am truly honored to have your daughter in my life ... she is the best wife in the world. Thank you for doing such a great job raising her. To our family and friends -Thank you for your encouraging words and support throughout my doctoral program. You will never know how much you helped me push through the 2:00 a.m. assignments. Pastor Mitch and Sharon Maloney (Brent, Brandon, and Jonathan)-Thank you for not only leading us, but recognizing our potential and encouraging us to grasp hold of God's awesome plan for our lives. You have become like family to us and we love and appreciate each of you. Pastor Hubert and Kathy Seals -You have given unselfishly to the families in our church for many years and we are truly thankful for your ministry. We love you both. To the North Cleveland Church of God -Thank you for being family. To the Scurlock Family -Thank you for your love, encouragement, and support. You will never know how much you have meant to our family. We love you. To the Gaines Family-Thank you for your friendship, love, and encouragement. We look forward to the awesome work that God is doing through you. We love you. Dr. Paul Conn, Dr. Debbie Murray, Dr. Gary Riggins, Dr. JoAnn Higginbotham, and Lee University -Thank you for always instilling excellence in others. You have positively impacted my life and I am forever grateful. Robin Blankenship, Jeremy Jones, Cyndi Morrow, Helen Johnson, and Wendy Canida-I am honored to have the opportunity to work with you every day. Thank you for your ongoing encouragement and support over the years. You set the bar high! Dr. Joy Yates and Dr. Ken Phillips -Thank you for encouraging me to pursue my doctoral degree early in my career. Your advice and friendship have been invaluable. Carolyn Ferguson, Beverly Tipton, and Terri Murray -Thank you for helping me during the data collection process. Carolyn ... thanks for all of the time you gave to help me. I appreciate you. To my students, both past and present -You have made me proud and I am honored to be your teacher. Keep striving for excellence! To the teachers and administrators who have played a part in this research -Thank you. To my doctoral cohort-It has been an honor. Shuran and Hood ... It's time to write some books. To the leaders of tomorrow -Always strive for excellence, lead with passion, and hold on to your faith and a good conscience. "In matters of fashion, swim with the current. In matters of conscience, stand like a rock." -Thomas Jefferson Finally, I would like to thank my dissertation committee ... Dr. Valerie Rutledge -Thank you for not only chairing my committee, but providing countless hours of guidance and support over the last three and a half years. Thanks for all you have done to help make this study the best it could be. I am honored to call you my friend. Dr. Rick Denning -A true educational leader who continues to positively impact the lives of many people in the community. Thanks for encouraging me to make this research applicable to the school environment. You have been a great asset to this study. Dr. Ted Miller -Thank you for not letting me settle for less than my best with this research project. Your expertise with the quantitative portion of this study has been invaluable and I truly appreciate your guidance. Dr. Kimberly O'Kelley-Wingate -Thank you for helping with the qualitative portion of this research. You have provided a great amount of expertise and I appreciate your knowledge and assistance throughout the dissertation process.


Ed. D.; A dissertation submitted to the faculty of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Doctor of Education.




Teacher morale; Teachers -- Job satisfaction -- United States


Educational Leadership

Document Type

Doctoral dissertations




xii, 135 leaves



Call Number

LB2369.1 .R624 2010