Date of Award

Spring 5-12-2023

Document Type

Dissertation (799 registration)

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership


Graduate Studies

Committee Chair

Andrew Burklund


Special educators are in high demand and greatly needed to meet the growing population of special education in public schools today. The purpose of this phenomenological study was to gain an understanding of how beginning special educators lived experiences and utilized their self-resilience skills which impacted their retention in the field of special education. With an increasing rate of attrition in the field of special education, exploring self-resilience factors that impact the retention of beginning special educators was imperative to understanding how to best support these early career educators. The increasing demands and pressures that beginning special educators are required to navigate need to be examined and addressed to ensure support and guidance are in place within the district and building levels in public schools. In order to understand how the phenomenon was experienced by beginning special educators, the researchers conducted focus groups. Participants in the focus groups reflected on and defined their experiences as beginning special educators. The essence of the impact of self-resilience in the study was found through the beginning special educator’s ability to recognize student needs and their ability to affect change through supported internal and external environments.



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