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December 9, 2011

Olathe Educators Achieve National Board Certification

Lindsey CollingLast year, three teachers in Olathe USD 233 were among Kansas educators deciding if they wanted to go through a rigorous journey.

During the 2010-11 school year, Lindsey Colling, Lisa Frahm, and Dena Steen went through the challenging process of becoming National Board Certified Teachers (NBCTs).

In late November all of these Olathe teachers were informed their work had measured up – they are now NBCTs.

Lindsey Colling teaches Spanish at Olathe East High School. She earned her certification in World Languages Other than English/Early Adolescence through Young Adulthood.

Lisa FrahmLisa Frahm is a 5th grade teacher at Manchester Park Elementary School. She earned her certification in Generalist/Middle Childhood.

Dena Steen is a 3rd grade teacher at Washington Elementary. She earned her certification in Reading-Language Arts/Early and Middle Childhood.

These three are among the 42 NBCTs working in USD 233.

While the process is often misunderstood to mean a teacher passed a test or was nominated for the award, Dr. Roger Caswell explained National Board 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.

Dena Steen“This process of board certification is very much like how a doctor becomes certified in a special area,” Caswell said. Caswell is the 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.”

While state licensing systems set the basic requirements to teach in each state, National Board Certified Teachers 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. And the program hosted at ESU, Great Plains Center for National Teacher Certification, benefits as it maintains an 80% rate with candidates achieving initial on their first attempt. This is twice the national initial certification rate of 40%. More information about ESU’s program can be found at www.emporia.edu/jones/nbpts/.

On December 7, National Board Certification was celebrated at a White House event heralding the newest class of 6,266 board certified teachers, which brings to nearly 100,000 the total number of board certified teachers in the U.S.


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


School District

Total  # NBCTs

Blue Valley








Geary County


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

Kansas is 36th in the nation in total number of NBCTs. The state is 34th in the number of new NBCTs.