BUCKHANNON, W.Va. – After going months without finding qualified candidates for math teachers, Upshur County schools are trying to sweeten the pot. In a first for the county, the board of education is offering a $9,000 signing bonus to anyone who will sign on for a minimum of three years. Superintendent Sara Stankus said the positions are naturally harder to fill because of the qualifications needed to fill them.
“Often it leads to those fields like medical or engineering, those fields that have a higher income, so math teachers are very unique,” Stankus said.
Math teachers today are no longer simply teaching algebra and addition. Upshur County math teacher Michael Wilson said the skills kids learn in math class can be applied to many situations, and that’s what they’re looking to learn.
“Kids are always wanting to know the relatability to the world of work. And I said, you know, you’re learning a skill that’s teaching you how to reason and problem solve at a higher level of thinking,” said Wilson.
Cash incentives for hires aren’t new from the state itself, but Stankus said it’s the first time for the county to offer one on its own. She said it’s a big step, but one that will be worth the investment.
“Our board took a bold step here to try to attract teachers. We want the most qualified people in our classrooms, obviously. Our students deserve that,” said Stankus.