Addressing Attrition: Multi-Level Mentorship Model




alumni, attrition, mentorship, special education teachers


Mentorship has been identified as a protective factor in early career special education teacher retention. These mentorships can be formal or informal during teachers’ first years of teaching and can support teachers in various aspects of their careers, such as navigating required paperwork and instructional practices. However, these mentorships should be individualized and consistently provided to be meaningful. To address the inconsistent mentorships that early career teachers may receive, we propose a model in which early career teachers are supported by a network of alumni to both support and retain the early career special education teaching force. In turn, the alumni are supported by university faculty in mentorship skills to fill gaps in administrative roles where special education expertise is needed. By providing support to both groups of special educators (e.g., early career, mid to late career), we hope to address the shortage of special educators by improving attrition rates of early career special educators while concurrently encouraging and promoting leadership roles for in-service special educators, filling the critical need of administrators with special education expertise.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biographies

Ya-Chih Chang, California State University, Los Angeles

Dr. Ya-Chih Chang is a Professor at California State University, Los Angeles. She has over a decade of experience working with parents, early interventionists, and early childhood educators in supporting young children who are at risk or with disabilities using evidence-based practices. Her research focuses on the implementation of evidence-based interventions in the community and teacher education.

Talya Drescher, California State University, Channel Islands

Dr. Talya Drescher is an Assistant Professor of Special Education at California State University, Channel Islands. She has over a decade of experience as a K-12 special educator in Los Angeles area public schools. Her research foci include the study of the transformative processes in pre-service education, methods of collaboration in higher education, and the use of mixed reality simulation in post-secondary education.



How to Cite

Chang, Y.-C., & Drescher, T. (2023). Addressing Attrition: Multi-Level Mentorship Model. Journal of Special Education Preparation, 3(1), 68–75.



Special Issue on Teacher Shortages