Date of Award

Spring 5-2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in School Leadership


Center for Leadership & Learning


College of Education

Committee Chair

Dr. Sarah Gordon

Second Committee Member

Dr. John Freeman

Third Committee Member

Dr. Christopher Nail

Program Director

Dr. John Freeman

Dean of Graduate College

Dr. Richard Schoephoerster


School districts have adopted policies to limit chronic absenteeism, including changing policies to incentivize teachers to take fewer days off from the school year (Mershon, 2015) due to the effects of a teacher being out of the classroom. These effects include the effects on student achievement (Clotfelter et al., 2006; Ehrenberg et al., 1991), on colleagues and the school district (Bradley et al., 2007; Miller, 2008), and the use of substitutes in lieu of a teacher (Bruno, 2002; Herrmann & Rockoff, 2010). This qualitative, phenomenological study sought to understand teachers’ perspectives regarding policies and practices that are aimed to promote teacher attendance. Using indepth interviews, this study explored the perceptions and experiences of 12 participants ranging in ages, years working in education, years working in the Stuttgart School District, and grades of students taught. Findings in the study relate to (a) teacher motivations; (b) policy and practice effectiveness; (c) reasons for absences; (d) policy improvements and criticisms; and (e) mental health. Findings may inform policy makers at the state level, local school boards, and school administrators to create policies or practices that promote teacher attendance. The theoretical underpinning for this study was Maslow’s Need Theory (Maslow, 1943).