Date of Award


Degree Name

EdD Doctor of Education

Dissertation Committee

William P. Foster, EdD, Director; Robert L. Infantino, EdD; Pearl I. Varlack, PhD


assumptions, beliefs, case study, concerns, first-year elementary teachers, Leadership studies, perception, retention, school administrators, St. Croix (U.S. Virgin Islands)


First-year teachers in the St. Croix School District represent an infusion of new blood into the profession whose retention, personal and professional growth are of paramount importance to the future of the profession. The purposes of this research were: (1) to examine the assumptions, concerns, beliefs, and perceptions of first-year teachers about their entry into the teaching profession; (2) to investigate the beliefs, concerns, perception, and assumptions of central office administrators, a teacher educators, a member of the Board of Education, experienced teachers, principals, assistant principals, coordinators, secretaries, parents, and paraprofessionals have about support needs for first-year teachers; (3) to explore the need for teacher leadership at the classroom level where effective teachers will be prepared to support each other through empowerment, communication, trust, vision, and generative; and (4) to design a model for teacher leadership which will promote the concept that teachers at the classroom level can exert leadership in providing support for first-year teachers. A phenomenological and ethnographic approach in the naturalistic setting of the St. Croix School District determined the perceived assistance and support needed by first-year teachers. Data for case studies of five first-year teachers were collected from classroom observations, group meetings, journals, audiotapes, and videotapes. In varying degrees, first-year teacher in the St. Croix School District had major concerns about receiving the initial paycheck on time, isolation, classroom discipline, motivating students, dealing with individual differences among students, assessing students' work, relationship with parents, organizing classwork, lack of communication with administrators, being assigned as substitute teachers, and, having insufficient materials and supplies. Naturalistic research methods were used to collect information from 30 key participants whose role in the educational system impact on the success or failure of a first-year teacher. The teacher leadership preparation model includes five essential themes of leadership: (1) empowerment, (2) vision, (3) communication, (4) trust, and (5) generativity. This model will aid experienced teachers in articulating their teaching expertise to others and raising first-year teachers and themselves to higher levels of professionalism.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access