Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award

January 2016

Degree Type


Degree Name



Educational Leadership and Policy

First Advisor

Ben Pogodzinski


A pervasive issue facing today’s educational environment is teacher morale in schools. Recognizing that teacher morale in urban schools is an area of concern, and the behavior of the principals may be a contributing factor, the primary purpose of this quantitative research study was to analyze and measure the relationship between principal leadership practices and teacher morale in urban schools. The research questions focused on the relationship between principal leadership practices and teacher morale, significant differences among schools in reference to principal leadership practices, significant differences among schools in reference to teacher morale, and the principal leadership practices that had the highest and lowest mean scores in reference to teachers who had high morale and teachers who had low morale.

The Transformational Leadership Theory, which focuses on the leader enhancing the motivation, morale and performance of their follower group, was utilized as the conceptual framework. A total of 101 teachers (who worked in an urban school district) participated in the study by completing two surveys, the Leadership Practices Inventory (which measures principal leadership practices) and the Purdue Teacher Opinionaire (which measures teacher morale). The results showed that the leadership practices of principals were not related to teacher morale, in the urban schools in this study. The findings showed that teachers believed their principals were fairly supportive. However, curricular issues and teacher salary were the two key factors that were contributing to low teacher morale. Additionally, teacher load, teacher status in the community, community support, school facilities and community pressures were contributing to low teacher morale, as well. Based on the findings in this study, the assumption could be made that central office administrators, along with school board officials may be a contributing factor that has affected the decision-making process of the principals and teachers; which in turn has negatively affected teacher morale.

Implications from the findings suggest that the urban school district in this study move towards implementing the transformational leadership theory with fidelity. Current and prior research studies have shown the positive effects of this model. Implementation of transformational leadership strategies would assist teachers, principals, and central office administrators to improve morale in urban schools.