Published: Aug 06, 2012 6:57 PM EDT
Updated: Aug 07, 2012 9:13 AM EDT

FORT MYERS, Fla. - Nearly half of all Lee County school teachers leave their jobs within just 5-years of starting them.   

Former teacher, Morgan Kirk, won a Golden Apple Award in 2010.  Kirk spent 5-years at Fort Myers High before leaving for a marketing job with Next Level Church. 

She said, "I don't think that as many people are walking in knowing that they'll be there for 30 years."

Mark Castellano, President of the Teacher's Association of Lee County, says it's a shame to lose young talent.
"The crime is not in that phenomenal young teachers don't have all the skills they need, the crime is them not being there 5-years later," he said.

He also said, one of the number one reasons teachers leave is due to a lack of support.  Castellano says their absence comes at a high cost for the district and the students left behind.

"The numbers are staggering because tied to those numbers is every time you lose a teacher, I believe the district's estimate is somewhere around $16,000 to replace that employee," Castellano said.

Joe Donzelli, Communications Director with Lee Public Schools, agrees and says the district plans to mentor teachers.

"The idea is to create several levels of instructional personnel, including master teachers who have demonstrated a mastery of instructional practices.  These individuals would remain instructional personnel, having classrooms of their own - but also be able to visit classrooms of other teachers, especially new teachers, in order to provide support and guidance," Donzelli said in a statement to WINK News.