Document Type



Doctor of Education


Educational Leadership

First Adviser

White, George

Other advisers/committee members

Sperandio, Jill; Silova, Iveta; Mancuso, Steven


The purpose of this study was to explore variables that influence or motivate teachers in their underlying decision to stay or leave an American-style overseas school in the Association of American Schools in South America (AASSA) region. The study extends previous research that explored relationships between teacher characteristics, school characteristics, and organizational conditions on the decision of a teacher to stay or move. Perceived quality of life indicators were included to empirically explore host country characteristics and their impact on overseas teacher turnover and retention. A quantitative research method was employed to collect data from all teachers currently working on overseas-hired contracts employed in AASSA schools. The total number of completed teacher surveys was 321 representating at least thirty-six schools and fourteen countries, of which, 211 qualified as subjects fulfilling the power requirements for this study. A second electronic survey was administered to all 61 AASSA school heads and had a 64% return rate.A logistic regression analysis of the predictors of teacher turnover was utilized. Data gathered from the survey questions were subjected to an analysis of the correlations of each of the factors as they relate to stayers and movers.One of the most noteworthy findings from this study was the substantial variation (2.4% to 83.3%) and high teacher turnover rate (28%) in the AASSA region compared to rates in the U.S. or in other international settings. This study demonstrates that overseas assignments pose unique challenges to expatriate teachers and their adjustment to the host country. Quality support and orientation in regards to living conditions, health services, host country nationals, transportation and public services is required otherwise schools risk teachers leaving. Competitive salary and benefit packages, and targeting specific teacher profiles during the recruitment process are also important factors in retaining teachers. Finally, leadership of the school head played a pivotal role in teacher retention.