Author ORCID Identifier

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Susan J. Curtin


Teacher recruitment and retention consistently emerge as problematic in research and practice. This is particularly true in difficult to staff areas, such as rural school districts in the United States. As the teacher pipeline continues to decrease and various challenges continue to plague the field, this problem will quickly turn into a crisis. The present study aimed to lift voices of novice teachers in rural and remote rural areas of South Dakota to better understand individuals’ experiences in a rural setting and contribute to the current knowledge base of rural teacher recruitment and retention. This qualitative phenomenological study interviewed 11 participants to discover which contexts impacted their overall experiences as a novice teacher in South Dakota. These interviews revealed the need for direct support from administrators and colleagues to create a sense of belonging which was noted as imperative to positive novice teacher experiences. The need for appropriate preparedness within their preservice experiences and coursework as well as solid induction and mentoring programs once hired surfaced during the interviews. Rural-specific field experiences paired with comprehensive induction and mentoring programs focused on specific feedback prepare preservice teachers and novice teachers for successful rural teaching and living. Intentional recruitment efforts including grow-your-own programs for future teachers and partnerships between rural school districts and teacher preparation programs will boost the pipeline of novice teachers for rural areas. Future research includes surveying preservice and novice teachers in South Dakota to discover needs regarding their specific perceptions of overall preparedness and successful recruitment efforts. Additional research involves surveying novice teachers in South Dakota to learn more about localized contextual factors, such as salaries and housing, and how these factors may influence their decision to stay in state.

Subject Categories

Educational Leadership


novice teachers, recruitment, retention, rural

Number of Pages



University of South Dakota