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Abstract

Hard-to-staff rural schools often struggle to attract and retain promising educators. Experts have consistently identified administrative support in rural schools to be of unique importance for recruitment and retention, yet a lack of clarity continues to surround the specific leadership behaviors that new teachers interpret as supportive. This qualitative study collected data from three focus groups; including superintendents, principals, and teachers in a program for aspiring administrators; and found that rural schools have to try much harder and in more active ways to retain new teachers because of the constraints existing within rural education. Rural school support for new teachers needs to be a collective responsibility to positively impact the retention of new teachers and the structural supports, affirmation, and encouragement offered by their organizations help to heighten the retention of new teachers. The study confirms that rural school leaders can leverage leadership behaviors to better retain talented teachers.

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