Date of Award

Summer 8-2016

Degree Type


Degree Name

EdD Education Leadership, Management and Policy


Education Leadership, Management and Policy


Anthony Colella, Ph.D

Committee Member

Jan Furman, Ed.D

Committee Member

Bridget Taylor, Ph.D

Committee Member

Jaime DeQuinzio, Ph.D


teacher, retention, special education, autism spectrum disorder, attrition, organizational factors


Nine experienced certified special education teachers who chose to move from the private sector to the public sector were interviewed to gain knowledge and information that could be used to improve the private sector school for learners with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Using Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs as the conceptual framework, this study explored the respondents’ beliefs about their workload, work responsibilities, compensation, and perceptions regarding their teaching experiences in private and public schools. Specifically, telephone or face-to-face interviews were conducted to ascertain the motivating factors that led the respondents to leave one private school, The Apple School, for teaching positions in the public sector. The timeframe was limited to the three-year period of 2012 to 2015. The study found that, for the four primary research questions and their sub-questions, all nine respondents referred to either a more favorable salary, working hour arrangement, workload, growth potential, or commute to work as a primary incentive to leave the private school and, once in the public sector, to remain at the public school. Of these findings, increased financial compensation was the predominant factor favoring the public school system, and private school’s longer required working hours along with a heavier workload were disincentives for the private school system. Recommendations were given to address the organizational factors identified in the study.