Date of Award

Spring 5-6-2022

Level of Access Assigned by Author

Open-Access Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership


Ian Mette

Second Committee Member

Catherine Biddle

Third Committee Member

Betsy Webb


The purpose of this mixed-methods study was to investigate teachers' and administrators’ perceptions about the current state of human capital management in a rural Northern state. The study also sought to uncover ways in which rural districts could better leverage their unique advantages and minimize their place-based challenges by investing in a more strategic approach to human capital management (HCM). Human resource practices within the education industry have not kept pace with advances in the human resources profession (Tran, 2015). Strategic HCM is a crucial underutilized approach to helping districts deliver on their vision of equitable access (Odden et al., 2011; Tran, 2015; Tran et al., 2020). This study used a survey, one-on-one interviews, and focus groups to assess the degree to which human capital management programs are perceived as effective by district leaders and teachers in four rural Maine school districts – two in the north (Region 1) and two in the south (Region 2). To better understand educator perceptions of how HCM practices are being carried out, the study developed and administered a survey (overall Cronbach alpha = 0.974) and analyzed responses of teachers (N = 127) and administrators (N = 18) on eight constructs covering human resource planning, recruitment, selection, new teacher support, performance evaluation and professional growth, recognition and reward, community engagement, and school environment. When comparing responses of teachers and administrators, there were statistically significant differences between their perceptions of certain constructs. There were also significant differences in perceptions across northern and southern regions of the state. When analyzing survey data in conjunction with open-ended items and interviews, key themes emerged that included, for example, the importance of integrating and aligning HCM practices, strengthening alliances with higher education, formalizing hiring, streamlining evaluation, and using data and professional development more strategically. These and other study findings have implications for scholarly practitioner practice and future research and should help to inform improvements to local and state educational policy as it relates to strategic management of human capital in rural education.

Included in

Education Commons