Oak Ridge National Laboratory


News Release

Media Contact: Mike Bradley ()
Communications and External Relations


Oneida science teacher receives UT-Battelle $10,000 bonus

OAK RIDGE, Tenn., Aug. 17, 2007 — For the second year in a row, an innovative teacher bonus program from UT-Battelle is helping recruit math and science teachers to rural East Tennessee schools.

Mike Delk, who will teach chemistry and physics at Oneida High School, is the fourth and latest recipient of a $10,000 "signing bonus" from UT-Battelle.

The company, which manages Oak Ridge National Laboratory, started the initiative last year to help schools fill math and science teaching vacancies. Certified teachers who agree to teach at least three years receive a $10,000 signing bonus with no extra cost to local governments or school systems.

Delk graduated from Alvin C. York Agricultural Institute in his native Fentress County. He taught there five years before leaving to run a successful catalog order business. When the teaching bug bit again, he was hired by Bledsoe County Schools.

"I'd been at Bledsoe for eight years when my sister, who works at Oneida, told me they were looking for a chemistry teacher," said Delk, a 1973 University of Tennessee graduate. "I was reluctant at first, but when I became aware of the bonus money I looked at it more closely and decided to make the move."

Oneida Principal Jimmy May said "It's pretty hard to find someone qualified who will move to a rural area. We have been looking for the last two years to hire someone. This bonus program helped make it happen." UT-Battelle last year provided $10,000 salary supplements for two new math teachers in Union County schools and a new science teacher in Morgan County.

The signing bonus program is one of several UT-Battelle initiatives to improve math and science education in East Tennessee schools. The effort has provided $350,000 to equip science laboratories in Tennessee schools and helped more than 20 Tennessee teachers achieve certification in science instruction.