Date of Award

Fall October 2009

Access Restriction


Degree Name

Doctorate in Education



School or College

School of Education

First Advisor

Mary K. McCullough

Second Advisor

Kristen R. Anguiano

Third Advisor

Brian P. Leung


Alarming K-12 nationwide teacher attrition statistics have led reform efforts to focus on teacher retention (Olsen & Anderson, 2007), especially in urban schools where teacher burnout and attrition are high (Darling-Hammond, 1998). It was not until recently, however, that teacher resiliency, a strengths based framework (Henderson & Milstein, 2003), was viewed as an alternate lens of reform in achieving higher teacher retention. This study utilized a Likert survey to quantify if 284 elementary teachers in sixteen, public urban elementary schools in two urban school districts in southern California agree or disagree with the six most significant school factors linked to teacher resiliency. The six school factors known as collegiality/ collaboration, professional development, leadership, shared power, commitment to students, and teacher efficacy were identified by synthesizing the current literature on teacher resiliency and retention. The two most significant predictors of teacher resiliency from the literature, as found by multiple regression analyses, were commitment and values and shared power. This study also investigated whether resilient elementary teachers in urban schools self-reported any additional school factors linked to teacher resiliency, not originally identified in the literature. The significant additional school factors found in this study linked to resiliency were urban school dynamics, intrinsic motivation, and community.