Megan Gaither, 31, an English teacher and varsity cheerleading coach at St. Clair High School in Franklin County, was put on leave on Friday after a student slipped a note under her classroom door to say they “knew her secret,” she told the St Louis Post-Dispatch.
The 31-year-old said she set up an OnlyFans account in May to help pay back more than $125,000 in student loans. She revealed her total pay for 2022, including a coaching stipend, was about $47,500.
“Teaching does not financially support a person. It’s really hard to stretch those paychecks during the summer. That’s why I did it,” she said.
Ms Gaither said she was making $3,000 to $5,000 a month on OnlyFans, but kept her face hidden in an effort to remain anonymous.
She added that she deactivated her account, which had about 1,500 subscribers, after another teacher at her school was suspended when school officials found out she had an OnlyFans account she ran with her husband.
Brianna Coppage, 28, was placed on leave from St Clair High School in September when officials confronted her about posting “inappropriate media on one or more internet sites.”
Ms Coppage, a former freshman and sophomore English teacher at the school, said she set up her account to supplement her $42,000 annual income, and has since resigned to become a full-time OnlyFans creator.
She previously told Fox News she has made close to $1m from her OnlyFans account.
Ms Coppage and Ms Gaither said they did not know they were both on OnlyFans until June, when Ms Gaither made an offhand remark at a “Teachers Night” at Busch Stadium.
The two women have since become close, and following her suspension on Friday, Ms Gaither described Ms Coppage as her “best friend”.
Ms Gaither told the St Louis Post-Dispatch that students discovered her OnlyFans account after she appeared in a video on Ms Coppage’s account.
Ms Gaither’s face was not seen in the video, which was shot at a party in a St. Louis hotel room, but pupils were able to tell it was her after a photo from the event appeared online in which she was wearing the same outfit she had on in the video.
At this point, rumours began circulating around the school, according to Ms Gaither, and a student posted a note under her classroom door suggesting they “knew her secret.”
“I was in like maybe four minutes of the entire thing, and I definitely did not think this would be the thing that would ruin my entire career,” she said.
Ms Gaither said she was placed on leave because of “professionalism and student communication,” but insisted she has never acted unprofessionally and had earned good reviews from school officials.
She said she still loves teaching but admitted that her “career at St. Clair is over regardless of what I do.”
“I legitimately have love in my heart for each and every one of (my students),” she told the Post-Dispatch. “The students are why I told myself I would spend 30 years of my life at that school, and I feel like I am abandoning them. I know I will likely never see them again.”
Ms Gaither said she and her husband have considered moving, and she said she would likely reactivate her OnlyFans account.
“Right now, I am just hoping to make enough to support my family,” she said.
She added that she suspects other teachers in Missouri have turned to OnlyFans to boost their income.
“Teachers are probably freaking out right now because two teachers from the same school, in less than a month, have been caught,” she said.
School Superintendent Kyle Kruse told the Post-Dispatch that the “district does not have a statement to issue at this time.”
Teachers are notoriously underpaid in the US with a median annual salary of just over $61,000 a year, according to the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics data.
According to the Economic Policy Institute, teachers make about 20 per cent less than other college-educated workers with similar experience.