Lee Allen is a former Gwinnett County math teacher.

Lee Allen is a former Gwinnett County math teacher.

Credit: Lee Allen

Math teacher Lee Allen of Gwinnett County's Archer High School spent his last day on the job Friday.

The Teacher of the Year in the state's largest school district quit his job, citing frustrations that many Georgia teachers are facing.

He said that some of those issues include teacher burnout, student-parent apathy, large classes and cellphones.

"The issues we're facing currently are familiar issues in education, but they're exacerbated from COVID," he said. "Large education systems can sometimes be slow to change. I just felt these things that we're returning to, it was really affecting me and I was afraid if I didn't do something I'd leave the profession entirely."

He said that he decided to go public with his decision to quit in order to call attention to the issues while he has a platform as Teacher of the Year.

"Ultimately I did it because I care, I care about students, teachers, and the public education system as a whole," he said. "I talked with several teachers across my district, and not everyone's had a bad year, but there are many teachers currently struggling."

Allen said he'd like administrators to listen to teachers more and for parents to be more involved in their children's education.

Although he won't knock any pay increase, including the one recently enacted by Georgia lawmakers, he said that pay hasn't been the determining factor in what teachers are struggling through right now.

He used to work as a project manager in the information technology field.

"When I changed careers, I said that I would make half as much money and work twice as hard but love teaching and helping people so much more," he said. "Right now, that's my current plan."

Allen, who became a teacher eight years ago, said he'll continue teaching, but in a smaller school district.