Date of Award

Winter 1-5-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

First Advisor

Wellner, Laurie

Second Advisor

Wilson, Marylou

Third Advisor

Pierson, Robin


Purpose: The purpose of this qualitative study was to describe the perceived factors that led to the resiliency and retention of veteran preschool special education teachers in public schools in California.

Methodology: This study utilized a phenomenological design to gain insight into the perceived factors influencing veteran preschool special education teachers’ resiliency and career decision to continue teaching in the field of special education for at least 10 years. Using snowball sampling, 12 preschool teachers employed in public schools in Solano County with at least 10 years of experience were selected to participate in the study. Qualitative data were obtained from participants using semi-structured interviews.

Findings: Participants identified four major factors as integral to their resiliency in the field: personal strategies, positive emotions, peer support, and mentoring. Furthermore, the teachers reported job satisfaction, administrative support, motivation, and prior experience and formal preparation had a significant influence on their career decision to remain in the field.

Conclusions: Based on the findings of this study, four main conclusions were drawn. First, the impacts of teaching challenges can be minimized by utilizing appropriate strategies. Second, positive relationships between teachers and their peers, mentors, and administrators are needed for teachers to develop resilience. Third, intrinsic motivation to teach helps them continue teaching despite crises. Finally, prior experience and formal preparation are significant for teacher retention.