November 15, 2012 

KC Metro Area Teachers Measure Up – Again

Tonya Landes

Tonya Landes


Photo unavailable for
Ryan Turner


Two teachers from school districts in the KC metro area have renewed the highest credential available to American educators as a National Board Certified Teacher through the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS).

A decade ago, during the 2002-03 school year, Tonya Landes and Ryan Turner went through the challenging 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 soon to expire.

In late October the educators were told their work had measured up when they received notice their national board certifications were renewed.

Landes, a seventh grade language arts teacher at Summit Lakes Middle School in the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District, renewed her certificate in middle childhood/generalist. Landes is one of 11 NCTs in her school district.

Turner, who teaches fifth grade at Tiffany Ridge Elementary School in the Park Hill School District, renewed his certificate in middle childhood/generalist. Turner is one of 75 NBCTs in his district.

A recent comprehensive study by the nonpartisan National Research Council found that students taught by board certified teachers make higher gains on achievement tests than students taught by other teachers.

“This process of board certification is similar to how a doctor becomes certified in a special area,” said Dr. Roger Caswell, former director of Emporia State University’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.’”

The process is often misunderstood to mean a teacher passed a test or was nominated for the award. Alvin Peters, the current director of the program, adds, “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.”

ESU’s Great Plains Center for National Teacher Certification maintains a 100% renewal rate with candidates achieving recertification on their first attempt. This is the eighth consecutive year the center’s renewal rate has reached 100%. More information about ESU’s program can be found at

Kansas currently has a total of 355 national board certified teachers. Nationwide, the total number of national board certified teachers is more than 97,000.