Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Committee Chair

Sydney Brown


The purpose of this mixed-method study was to determine if specific interpersonal skills (trustworthiness, communication, empathy, and problem-solving) possessed by principals, as perceived by teachers, are important characteristics in creating and maintaining a positive school climate, increasing student learning, and retaining teachers in the elementary school setting. The participants in the study were teachers from 13 elementary schools in a North Carolina county. This study used both quantitative and qualitative data from a combined principal soft skill and climate survey, 2015–2016 North Carolina report card on teacher retention, 2015–2016 EOG math/reading scores, and results from teacher interviews to examine the relationship between administrator interpersonal skills on school climate, student learning, and teacher retention. Based on the data from this research, principal interpersonal skills do impact school climate. The two interpersonal skills that showed significance as measured by their relationship to climate were trust and problem-solving. Although the interpersonal skills within this study did not statistically predict reading proficiency and math proficiency, teacher interviews clearly identified the importance of principal interpersonal skills with regard to student performance in elementary schools. Finally, principal interpersonal skills did not statistically predict teacher turnover in this research; however, trend data collected from teacher interviews indicated that teacher morale and retention were based on the skills of the school leader.

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