Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name



College of Education and International Services


Higher Education Administration PhD

First Advisor

Jay Brand

Second Advisor

Gustavo Gregorutti

Third Advisor

Janet Ledesma



Ledesma (2011) reports that principals’ average tenure in Adventist schools in North America “ranges from 2.5-4.0 years. Elementary principals remain in leadership for 2.5 years, day academy principals stay for 3.6 years, and boarding academy principals leave after 4.0 years” (p, 8). Ledesma also noted that the length of tenure of a school principal in the Adventist school system mirrors that of other school systems. In an attempt to understand more about the possible factors related to this seemingly high voluntary turnover, this research sought to explore the association between the four factors of Krumboltz’s career decision making model (Krumboltz, 1979; Krumboltz, Mitchell, & Jones, 1976; 1979), considered individually and collectively, and longevity/retention among P/K-12 principals in the North American Division of Seventhday Adventists. The four factors consist of 22 variables altogether. Each of these 22 factors functionally fall under one of the four components/factors of Krumboltz’s career decision making model according to the following conceptual structure:

First, personal characteristics included: (a) gender, (b) age (evaluated as a covariate; rationale included in chapters 3 and 4), and (c) ethnic background. Second, environmental conditions included: (a) school type, (b) enrollment, (c) hours at work, (d) perceived engagement as per the Employee Engagement questionnaire by Studer Education, referred to as engagement in this study. The purpose of the Employee Engagement questionnaire is to evaluate how well the immediate supervisor or person who completes the employee’s performance evaluation provides a work environment that allows the employee to reach his/her potential. Additionally, five of the six dimensions of the School Participant Empowerment Scale (SPES) were included as follows: (e) autonomy, (f) decision making, (g) impact, (h) professional growth, and (i) status. Third, learning experiences, included: (a) degree, (b) certification or licensure, and (c) preparation (before) or (d) preparation (after) becoming a principal. Fourth, task skills were evaluated using (a) principals’ perceived level of self-efficacy, one of the six dimensions of the SPES; according to Bandura (1994), ‘self-efficacy’ includes subjective confidence in one’s task abilities; and finally (b) feeling of preparedness.


A quantitative approach was adopted using an online survey. Descriptive statistics, Analysis of covariance (ANCOVA), and Multiple Regression Analysis that explores associations between 22 variables, controlled for Age, and longevity were conducted to analyze the responses of 507 principals and head teachers throughout the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists school system.


Age accounted for 11% of the variance in Same School Longevity, and the 22 variables accounted for an additional 7.7% of the variance in Same School Longevity, a significant increase over the contribution of age. Using an alpha criterion of 0.05, only two of the 22 variables, controlling for Age, contributed to a regression model. Salary explained 2.4% of the variance in ‘Same School Longevity’, controlling for Age, and ‘Preparation Before’ explained 1.1% of the variance in ‘Same School Longevity’, again controlling for Age. ‘Preparation Before’ was negatively related to ‘Same School Longevity’ – i.e., principals with training BEFORE becoming a principal had lower ‘Same School Longevity’.


Salary and Preparation Before, two of the items under Environmental Conditions from Krumboltz’s Social Learning Theory of Career Decision Making, were found to be statistically significant predictors of job tenure and contributed 2.4% and 1.1% respectively of the variance in Same School Longevity, controlling for Age.

Subject Area

School principals--Tenure; High school principals--Tenure; North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists; Krumboltz's career decision theory