If We Get You, How Can We Keep You? Problems with Recruiting and Retaining Rural Administrators

  • Jo Nell Wood Saint Louis University
  • Kim Finch Missouri State University
  • Rachel M. Mirecki Saint Louis University


The focus on instructional leadership has reached a crescendo with the waivers for No Child Left Behind (2002). The leadership of the principal is known to be a key factor in supporting student achievement; however, recruitment and retention of administrators in rural areas of the Midwest is very difficult. This survey research study explored the recruitment and retention strategies, as well as factors influencing the loss or retention of quality administrators reported by Midwest superintendents. The themes that emerged as successful recruitment strategies included ‘growing your own’ as the number one method of recruiting and retaining rural school administrators, salaries/benefits depending on location, emphasizing positive working conditions and climate/culture, and providing quality professional development. Retention strategies that worked well for rural schools were an emphasis on a positive school culture and climate, investment in professional development, and use of technology for mentoring along with increased benefits.  


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Author Biographies

Jo Nell Wood, Saint Louis University
Jo Nell Wood served 31 years in public education before moving into the field of administration as assistant superintendent of C&I. Jo Nell, Associate Professor in Education, joined the faculty at Saint Louis University in 2005.
Kim Finch, Missouri State University
Kim Finch served 30 years in public education. Finch, Assistant Professor in Educational Leadership, joined the faculty of Missouri State University in 2009. At Missouri State, Finch’s emphasis is in research and educational leadership development.
Rachel M. Mirecki, Saint Louis University
Rachel Mirecki holds a Ph.D. in Counseling & Family Therapy from Saint Louis University. She engages in research and has presented nationally in the field of marriage and family therapy.  
How to Cite
Wood, J. N., Finch, K., & Mirecki, R. M. (2013). If We Get You, How Can We Keep You? Problems with Recruiting and Retaining Rural Administrators. The Rural Educator, 34(2). https://doi.org/10.35608/ruraled.v34i2.399
Research Articles