Invisible threads: Working conditions, interpersonal relationships, and turnover among black female teachers

Ayana Kee Campoli, Dyanis Conrad-Popova

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The shortage of teachers of color, specifically Black female teachers, is a problem that detrimentally impacts students in US public schools. The high turnover of Black teachers may be caused by the poor working conditions they experience in their schools. However, the literature lacks a broad overview that gives a national perspective on how working conditions in general, and interpersonal relationships in particular, affect the retention of Black female teachers. For this study, we analyzed data from a nationally representative sample of over 1,000 Black female teachers who participated in the 2007—2008 Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS). We addressed two main research questions. First, how do the working conditions in schools where Black female teachers are employed relate to their retention? Second, does the quality of the interpersonal relationships between Black female teachers and others at their schools predict career decisions? Our findings have implications for policymakers and school leaders who seek to improve teacher retention in US public schools.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)117-134
Number of pages18
JournalAdvances in Race and Ethnicity in Education
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017



  • Attrition
  • Black female teachers
  • Interpersonal relationships
  • Retention
  • Teachers of color
  • Working conditions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Education
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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