Teachers recognized for National Board Certification

April 25, 2013

Twelve Kansas educators were honored this week for joining an elite group of educators who have earned National Board Certification.

The teachers, administrators, mentors and families for the recognition dinner held April 23 at Emporia State University. National board certification is recognized nationwide as a model for identifying accomplished teaching practice. Teachers were notified in late November 2012 if they achieved the certification they worked for during the 2011-12 school year.

Kansas Commissioner of Education Diane DeBacker, spoke at the dinner. “Through working in education in Kansas, I knew these teachers before they started the process of becoming National Board Certified Teachers (NBCTs),” DeBacker stated. There are 41,000 teachers in Kansas, DeBacker concluded, “This shows NBCTs are the movers and shakers in education.”

New NBCT Brandi Leggett, a teacher at Prairie Ridge Elementary School, addressed the audience on behalf of the 2012 class of NBCTs: “(This process) provided me with innovative methods and strategies I could use to improve the student learning taking place in my classroom. Whether it was ways I could have provided better feedback for my students during a teachable moment, how I could improve the way I was delivering content to my students, ways I could raise the expectations higher for my students or how I was stepping in too quickly rather than giving students a chance to build their own discussions and thinking, this process taught me how to become an accomplished teacher…. When I informed one my students I had passed, she quickly gave me a hug and said, ‘We did it!’… To me, this is what accomplished teaching is all about. It is about taking journeys with your students to build relationships, taking risks to promote student learning, not putting any limitations on your students, and truly believing ALL your students will succeed.”

Ken Weaver, Dean of The Teachers College at ESU, read the resolution passed by the Kansas Senate Congratulating and commending the 2012 Kansas National Board Certified Teachers.

The honored teachers – each presented with a certificate and a plaque – were:

USD 229 Blue Valley –
Lisa Ciminieri, Harmony Elementary School
Ashley DeForest, Heartland Elementary School
Catherine Healy, Sunset Ridge Elementary School
Erin Pearson, Blue Valley Northwest High School

USD 232 De Soto –
Brandi Leggett, Prairie Ridge Elementary School
Wendy Ping, Prairie Ridge Elementary School

USD 259 Wichita –
Rachel Aponso, Horace Mann Dual Language Magnet School

USD 437 Auburn-Washburn –
Teresa Hime, Pauline South Intermediate School

USD 446 Independence –
Leigh Ann Stewart, Independence High School

USD 475 Geary County –
Heather Fleming, Junction City Middle School

USD 500 Kansas City –
Tamara Hedenskog, Stony Point Elementary School

While state licensing systems set the basic requirements to teach in each state, NBCTs have demonstrated advanced teaching knowledge, skills and practices. National certification takes from one to three years to complete.

The accomplishment of national board certification benefits the teachers, the schools they work in, and studies have shown NBCTs improve student learning. The program hosted at ESU, Great Plains Center for National Teacher Certification, has a 79% initial certification rate over the past seven years. This is nearly twice the national initial certification rate of 40%. More information about ESU’s program can be found at www.emporia.edu/jones/nbpts/.

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