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Kansas Teachers Achieve Certification

December 3, 2015

One hundred percent of the educators mentored through a program at Emporia State University in 2014-15 achieved the highest honor of the teaching profession, most for a second time. One teacher earned her certificate for the first time.

The 14 teachers were notified recently that the work they had done toward certification had measured up. Thirteen of the educators work in K-12 education; one works for a university.

“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% renewal rate with candidates achieving recertification on their first attempt. This is the 11th consecutive year the center’s renewal rate has reached 100%.

Due to NBPTS restructuring the documentation and deadlines required of teachers working toward their first national certification, the number of teachers becoming NBCTs is significantly lower this year than in the past.

Achieving certification for the first time was Jill Holmes, a computer technology teacher at Aubrey Bend Middle School in USD 229 Blue Valley. 

The teachers renewing their certificates this year included:

Blue Valley, USD 229 –

  • Ann Nelson, Blue River Elementary School, enrichment teacher; certificate area: middle childhood / generalist
  • Maria Worthington, Blue Valley North High School, English teacher; certificate area: adolescence to young adulthood / English, language arts

Buhler, USD 313 – Cindy Couchman, director of learning and instruction; certificate area: adolescence to young adulthood / math 

Kansas Connections Academy (Newton) – Sharon Jaso, special education director and middle school manager; certificate area: early childhood to young adulthood / exceptional needs specialist

Olathe, USD 233 –

  • Kimberly Buenger, Harmony Early Childhood Center, early childhood disabilities teacher; certificate area: early childhood to young adulthood / exceptional needs specialist
  • Deborah Jaeger, Prairie Trail Middle School, English teacher; certificate area: early to middle childhood / literacy: reading language arts
  • Bruce Wellman, Olathe Northwest High School, chemistry teacher; certificate area: adolescence to young adulthood / science

St. Benedict Catholic School (Atchison) – Diane Liebsch, principal; certificate area: early adolescence / English language arts

Pittsburg, USD 250 – Diana Oertle, Meadowlark Elementary School, Title I teacher; certificate area: middle childhood / generalist

Wamego, USD 320 –

  • Mary Lonker, Wamego High School, English teacher; certificate area: early adolescence / English language arts
  • Lori Stratton, Wamego High School, English teacher; certificate area: adolescence to young adulthood / English language arts

Shawnee Mission, USD 512 – Juli O’Mealey Simmons, Shawnee Mission North High School, music teacher; certificate area: early adolescence to young adulthood / music

Dr. Robyn Seglem, an associate professor in the school of teaching and learning at Illinois State University (Normal, IL), renewed her certificate in early adolescence / English language arts.

Kansas currently has a total of 403 national board certified teachers. To date, more than 112,000 teachers in all 50 states and the District of Columbia have achieved National Board Certification. Later this month, educators who worked during the 2014-15 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 www.emporia.edu/teach/great-plains/.

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