Date of Award

Spring 2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Committee Chair

Benjamin Williams


The purpose of this qualitative study was to shed light on the importance of addressing low teacher morale and provide methods for improving teacher morale through leadership behaviors. This study was designed to determine the leadership behaviors that will best heighten morale as perceived by middle school teachers. Thirty-nine teachers who teach middle-level grades (Grades 6-8) in rural areas completed a survey. The survey had 18 leadership behaviors. The teachers ranked the leadership behaviors within five leadership responsibilities based on the behavior’s importance to them. The five leadership responsibilities categories were based on the Wallace Foundation’s (2013) research. Instructional leaders, distributive leadership, school climate, data analysis, and building teacher capacity were those five leadership responsibilities. A focus group followed the survey. The theoretical framework chosen for this study is Abraham Maslow’s (1943) Hierarchy of Needs. This theory is used to examine the relationship between teachers and school leaders. I identified seven leadership behaviors as the most important for leaders to exhibit. The data collection developed five themes from the survey and the focus group conversation. The themes indicate what teachers in small rural areas who teach middle-level grades need from the school leader.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License