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November 9, 2011

Key Figures in Kansas Education Measure Up – Again

picture- Karen GodfreyLast year, two figures in Kansas education had to decide if they wanted to be among a handful of Kansas educators who wanted to go through a rigorous journey – again.

Within the last ten years, Joyce Huser, with the KS Department of Education, and Karen Godfrey, Vice President of Kansas National Education Association, went through the year-long process of becoming  National Board Certified Teachers (NBCTs). A year ago, they decided to renew their certificates as the life of their original 10-year certificates was about to expire.

picture - Joyce HuserIn late October Huser and Godfrey found their work had measured up again when they received notice their national board certifications were renewed.

Godfrey is nationally board certified in English Language Arts / Early Adolescence; Huser is certified in Art / Early and Middle Childhood.

“This process of board certification is very much like how a doctor becomes certified in a special area,” said Dr. Roger Caswell, director of ESU’s program which assists teachers working toward national certification. “This is voluntary – no state, school district, or program is demanding them to go through this process. That’s why – a decade after earning their certification the first time – it’s a huge commitment to say, ‘Yes, I want to do it again.’”

While the national board process is often misunderstood to mean a teacher passed a test or was nominated for the award, Caswell explained the certification is a different kind of honor. Teachers must submit extensive documentation of their instruction, including videos of their students at work in the classroom.

The accomplishment of national board certification benefits the teachers, the schools they work in, and studies have shown NBCTs improve student learning. And the program hosted at ESU, Great Plains Center for National Teacher Certification, benefits as it maintains a 100% renewal rate with candidates achieving recertification on their first attempt. More information about ESU’s program can be found at www.emporia.edu/jones/nbpts/.

Kansas currently has a total of 318 national board certified teachers. Nationwide, the total number of national board certified teachers is more than 91,000.


National Board Certification is the highest credential in the teaching profession. A voluntary process established by NBPTS, certification is achieved through a rigorous performance-based assessment that takes between one and three years to complete and measures what accomplished teachers and school counselors should know and be able to do. The program for providing professional support for the certification has been available at ESU since 1993.   

Is your teacher national board certified?

They are among the best teachers in the profession, undergoing a rigorous process taking at least one year.

They are told to expect a 400-hour time commitment, and less than half will pass on their first try.

National Board Certified Teachers represent less than one percent of all educators in Kansas, reflecting the dedication and skill required to earn the elite certification. The voluntary process is the equivalent of national board certification for physicians and other health professions.

Some 318 teachers in Kansas are national board-certified, with many teaching in larger school districts.

School District        

Total # Certified

Blue Valley








Geary County


To see a list of National Board Certified Teachers in Kansas, go to www.nbpts.org/resources/nbct_directory/.

Kansas is 35th in the nation in total number of NBCTs.

By late November teachers who worked toward initial certification during the 2010-11 school year will find out if they achieved National Board Certification.