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Kansas Teachers Achieve Certification

November 30, 2017

One hundred percent of the educators mentored through a program at Emporia State University in 2016-17 achieved the highest honor of the teaching profession — for a second time.

The 17 educators were notified recently the work they had done toward certification had measured up. Sixteen of the educators work in K-12 education and one is a small business owner.

“This process of board certification is similar to how a doctor becomes certified in a special area,” said Alvin Peters, the director of the program that guides teachers through working towards their national board certificates. “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. Peters added, “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.”

Emporia State’s Great Plains Center for National Teacher Certification maintains a 100 percent renewal rate with candidates achieving recertification on their first attempt. This is the 13th consecutive year the center’s renewal rate has reached 100 percent.

The teachers renewing their certificates this year included:

Auburn-Washburn, USD 437 – John Ritchie, English teacher at Washburn Rural High School; certificate area: English language arts/early adolescence

Blue Valley, USD 229 – Abby Cornelius, library media specialist at Blue Valley North High School; certificate area: library media/early childhood through young adulthood

Emporia, USD 253 – Randy Wells, physical education teacher at Emporia High School; certificate area: physical education/early adolescence through young adulthood

Hays, USD 489 – Monica Dreiling, fifth grade teacher at Lincoln Elementary School; certificate area: exceptional needs specialist/early childhood through young adulthood 

Lawrence, USD 497 – Dr. Barbara Williams, learning coach / AVID coordinator at Lawrence High School; certificate area: English language arts/adolescence and young adulthood

Manhattan-Ogden, USD 383 – Debra Schapaugh, Title I teacher at Bergman Elementary School; certificate area: literacy: reading-language arts/early and middle childhood

Olathe, USD 233 –

  • Michelle Meier, fourth grade teacher at Cedar Creek Elementary School; certificate area: generalist/middle childhood
  • Angie Powers, English teacher at Olathe Northwest High School; certificate area: English language arts/adolescence and young adulthood

Parsons, USD 503 –

  • Tiffany Hicks, first grade teacher at Lincoln Elementary; certificate area: generalist/middle childhood
  • Michell Piva, science teacher at Parsons Middle School; certificate area: generalist/middle childhood

Wichita, USD 259 –

  • Karen Burrell, math teacher at North High School; certificate area: mathematics/adolescence and young adulthood
  • Kelly Frederick, library media specialist at Mayberry Cultural and Fine Arts Magnet Middle School; certificate area: English language arts/adolescence and young adulthood
  • Claudia Griffith, counselor at West High School; certificate area: school counseling/early childhood through young adulthood
  • Jennifer Sissell, Spanish teacher at Northwest High Schools; certificate area: world languages other than English/early adolescence through young adulthood
  • Rebekah Winter, physical education teacher at Northwest High School; certificate area: physical education/early adolescence through young adulthood
  • Shanna Zimmerman, marketing education instructor at East High School; certificate area: career and technical education/early adolescence through young adulthood

Kelly Morgan Dempewolf, owner of Shana Cake Allergy-Friendly Breads and Treats in Topeka, achieved her renewal certificate in science/adolescence and young adulthood.

Kansas currently has a total of 410 national board certified teachers. To date, nearly 113,000 teachers in all 50 states and the District of Columbia have achieved National Board Certification. In December, educators who worked during the 2016-17 school year for their first national board certificate will find out if their work measured up to achieving National Board Certified Teacher status.

More information about Emporia State’s national board program can be found at


Is your teacher board certified?

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

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

NBCTs represent less than 1 percent of all educators in Kansas. The voluntary process is the equivalent of national board certification for physicians and other health professions. 

There are 410 teachers in Kansas who are NBCTs.

To see a list of NBCTs, go to



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