Date of Award


Degree Name

Leadership Studies


College of Education and Professional Development

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Dr. Bobbi Nicholson, Committee Chairperson

Second Advisor

Dr. Ronald Childress

Third Advisor

Dr. Rebecca Goodwin


The purpose of this study was to analyze the effect of stigma associated with substance use disorder (SUD) on the hiring of teacher-applicants in recovery. The ongoing opioid epidemic has dealt many disastrous blows to the United States, particularly in the Appalachian region of the country. As the coal industry was declining in the 1990s and 2000s, prescription opioids flooded the state of West Virginia, bringing with them a dwindling economy and a rise in crime rates, unemployment, and overdoses. Recent legislation has helped in pharmaceutical accountability/regulation and recovery options for individuals suffering from SUD. As more people in recovery are reintegrating into society, they face barriers due to the stigma associated with SUD. Identifying employers’ specific concerns about employing or supervising individuals in recovery has been the subject of several recent studies (Becton et al., 2017; Becton et al., 2020; Wright McDougal, 2015), and this investigation into the education arena has expanded that research trend.

The non-experimental, descriptive study was conducted by administering a modified version of the Employer Perspectives and Willingness Questionnaire to a non-random, convenience population of P-12 school administrators and human resources directors in all 55 districts of WV. This study identified top concerns administrators and human resources directors have regarding hiring people in recovery. The information was gathered by analyzing how employers’ personal experience with SUD influences the degree of stigma they may possess. Although there is SUD-related stigma in this field, there are also people who are supportive if certain protections for all stakeholders are in place. It was also revealed that there exists a need for more professional development regarding SUD for education administrators and human resources directors.


Substance abuse – Employment – West Virginia.

Substance abuse – Rehabilitation.

Educators – Substance abuse – West Virginia.