December 6, 2012

Kansas Educators Achieve National Board Certification

Eleven Kansas educators achieved first-time certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards in 2012.

National board certification is recognized nationwide as a model for identifying accomplished teaching practice. Teachers were notified in late November if they achieved the certification they worked for during the 2011-12 school year.

Newly certified teachers are:

USD 229 Blue Valley – Lisa Ciminieri, Ashley DeForest, Catherine Healy, and Erin Pearson

USD 232 De Soto – Brandi Leggett and Wendy Ping

USD 259 Wichita – Rachel Aponso

USD 437 Auburn-Washburn – Teresa Hime

USD 446 Independence – Leigh Ann Stewart

USD 475 Geary County – Heather Fleming

USD 500 Kansas City – Tamara Hedenskog

“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.’”

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 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.”

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

2012 NBCT map