Why This Teacher Quit After 11 Years To Manage a Chick-fil-A Instead


Scott Leep used to teach math and English at a tiny country school in Southwest Michigan. Now, he is a manager at Chick-fil-A.

“I loved teaching,” Leep said. “I loved being part of their lives, watching them figure out who they are.”

Leep originally started working at Chick-fil-A part-time in order to support his family with more than a teacher‘s salary.

For months he would work 80 to 90 hours a week, starting at 5:30 a.m. to teach his classes at Climax-Scotts Junior-Senior High School and his day at Chick-fil-A.

“I’d get home at 4:30 (p.m.), take a nap for an hour, then go to work at Chick-fil-A till midnight,” he said.

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After four months of the rigorous schedule, Leep was offered a full-time position as a manager at Chick-fil-A and left his classroom of 11 years as well as the school supplies he had purchased himself.

Ultimately he left because of the politics in the classroom, but he was more frustrated because each student was held to the same standards and “there are things you can’t measure on a test score.”

“We’re successful because of the recipe and the consistency,” he said of Chick-fil-A. “But students are different. Some want to go to college and I applaud that. Some want to go into a trade and I applaud that. Some want to go into the military. As an educator, I wanted to find what’s inside that kid and bring it out.”

Leer’s career change has also eased his mind and lets him enjoy his time at home with his wife and kids instead of worrying about his students.

“I’d lay in bed and think about the kids. Did they go home and have anything to eat? Did they go home and have anyone tell them they loved them? A good night’s sleep was rare,” he said. “Now, when I leave work, I leave it.”

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Climax-Scotts had to hire two teachers to replace Leer in the classroom because of his dual teaching certifications.

Leer now spends his days making sure guests at his restaurant are taken care of, and sometimes those guests include former students.

“I miss the kids, the way they touch your life. But I have the same thing here,” he said. “This is my home. The folks in red (Chick-fil-A team member uniforms) are my family, and we’re inviting people into our house as guests.”

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Erin Coates was an editor for The Western Journal for over two years before becoming a news writer. A University of Oregon graduate, Erin has conducted research in data journalism and contributed to various publications as a writer and editor.
Erin Coates was an editor for The Western Journal for over two years before becoming a news writer. She grew up in San Diego, California, proceeding to attend the University of Oregon and graduate with honors holding a degree in journalism. During her time in Oregon, Erin was an associate editor for Ethos Magazine and a freelance writer for Eugene Magazine. She has conducted research in data journalism, which has been published in the book “Data Journalism: Past, Present and Future.” Erin is an avid runner with a heart for encouraging young girls and has served as a coach for the organization Girls on the Run. As a writer and editor, Erin strives to promote social dialogue and tell the story of those around her.
Tucson, Arizona
Graduated with Honors
Bachelor of Arts in Journalism, University of Oregon
Books Written
Contributor for Data Journalism: Past, Present and Future
Prescott, Arizona
Languages Spoken
English, French
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Health, Entertainment, Faith