Author ORCID Identifier

Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation


Graduate School


Public Policy and Administration

First Advisor

Dr. Eugenia F. Toma


What is the role of place and policy in shaping educator labor markets during the decade following the Great Recession of 2008? This research leverages data on Kentucky students, educators, schools, and school districts from 2009 to 2018, with a focus on the rural, isolated Appalachian region. Many counties in the region have long struggled with poverty, low rates of labor force participation, lower educational attainment, and dependence on public transfers (Ziliak, 2019). Despite these challenges, the people of Appalachia demonstrate a strong attachment to the region. With this research, I enhance understanding of contexts and conditions, such as unique aspects of the Appalachian educator labor market, that could inform statewide or place-based policy design and implementation. I strengthen knowledge of patterns and trends in staffing to inform future research about causal effects of policy, and mechanisms driving those effects, in Appalachia, rural areas, and beyond. Finally, I contribute conceptual frameworks to describe relationships between school accountability and educator labor markets. I use a discrete time duration model to estimate relationships between teacher, district, policy, and place factors on teacher attrition and cross-district mobility. I contribute descriptive analyses to enhance understanding of staffing and educator career pathways. The analyses include trends over time and patterns across district types, including Appalachian and rural districts. Finally, I employ a regression discontinuity model, finding causal effects of a “report card” aspect of Kentucky’s school accountability system on student achievement, academic growth, and principal turnover.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)