Degree Name

EdD (Doctor of Education)


Educational Leadership

Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Terrence A. Tollefson

Committee Members

Cecil N. Blankenship, James H. Lampley, Louise L. MacKay


The purpose of this study was to understand and measure principal leadership practices and teacher morale as it relates to student achievement in Mitchell County at two elementary schools, four middle schools, and one high school. First, a review of the related literature attempted to define teacher morale as much as possible given that it is an ever-changing individual characteristic. Second, the researcher tried to understand teacher morale and distinguish between high and low elements and characteristics of teacher morale. Third, the researcher examined the difficult task of measuring the morale of teachers in public education today. Fourth, an attempt was made to understand what role school leaders play in the development of teacher morale and how their specific behavior affects the morale of teachers. Lastly, student achievement was reviewed using the North Carolina End-Of-Grade tests. All of these variables were examined to determine if there was a connection or pattern to high or low student achievement based on teacher morale.

This quantitative study was conducted using a survey-design method. The Purdue Teacher Opinionaire was used to measure factors contributing to teacher morale. The Leadership Practices Inventory (LPI) was chosen to measure leadership practices that best supports great accomplishments in organizations. The North Carolina End-Of-Grade/End-Of-Course tests were used to measure student achievement.

Overall results for Mitchell County Schools showed that there was a moderately high level of teacher morale. Satisfaction with teaching led the way in contributing to higher morale whereas the issue of teacher salary was found to lower morale. School leaders in Mitchell County proved to inspire a common vision as well as encourage teaching from the heart more so than found in existing research. Teachers from two of the seven schools rated their principals higher in leadership practices than the principals themselves; this is contrary to presented research. Many significant relationships existed between perceived leadership practices and teacher morale factors. All factors of teacher morale as measured by the Purdue Teacher Opinionaire had a positive correlation with the End-Of-Grade/End-Of-Course test scores.

Document Type

Dissertation - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.