Kansas educators achieve national board certification

December 13, 2013

During the 2012-13 school year, more than two dozen educators from across the state went through the challenging process of becoming National Board Certified Teachers.

In late November the teachers were informed their work had measured up: 25 are new NBCTs. A total of 19 are from the Kansas City area, three are from Manhattan area schools, two are from Wichita, and one is from Topeka.

Kansas’s new NBCTs are:

USD 229 Blue Valley – Jennifer Dugan, Leanne Geanes, Dr. Charles Golden, Natalie Johnson-Berry, Vannessa Loffredo, Lisa Nocita, Kim Rehagen, Jennifer Robinson, Kim Urenda, Kelly Utley Wouthtiwongprecha, Tara Walrod, Cynthia Younger

USD 230 Spring Hill – Amy Washington

USD 233 Olathe – Susan Bloom, Sara Mochel, Matt Peterie

USD 259 Wichita – Kelli Miller, Sara Ott

USD 379 Clay Center – Randi Weller

USD 383 Manhattan-Ogden – Dr. Lucas Shivers

USD 475 Geary County Schools – Crystal Rankin

USD 500 Kansas City – Stephanie Liberman, Helen Windhorst, Sarah Windhorst

USD 501 Topeka – Inshin Kim

Statewide, there are a total of 25 new NBCTs, bringing the total of NBCTs in Kansas to 394.

Among the group of new NBCTs in Kansas City area schools is the nation’s second parent-child teaching duo achieving certification in the same year, and a high school English teacher who achieved certification just weeks after finding out his wife had successfully renewed as an NBCT.

“I don't know how anyone can take this journey alone,” said Helen Windhorst, a teacher from the Kansas City, USD 500, who achieved certification along with her daughter, Sarah, who teaches in the same school district.

“Sarah and I are two very different people with different teaching styles,” Helen Windhorst said.  “There were so many in-depth conversations about our practice that it made us better. My successfully completing National Board Certification process is only made sweeter because Sarah and I did it side by side.”

Dr. Charles Golden, from USD 229, is married to an NBCT who found out last month she had successfully renewed her national board certification.

“When my wife earned her National Board certificate 10 years ago, she characterized the process as among the very best professional development opportunities available to practicing teachers. Having now completed that same process myself – in the same year Valerie renewed her certificate – I totally agree,” said Golden.

“This process of board certification is similar to how a doctor becomes certified in a special area,” said Alvin Peters, director of Emporia State University’s program which assists teachers working toward national certification. “This is voluntary – no state, school district, or program requires they go through this process.”

While state licensing systems set the basic requirements to teach in each state, NBCTs 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. Peters 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. All but one of the new NBCTs received guidance from the program hosted at ESU, the Great Plains Center for National Teacher Certification. The center has a 78% initial certification rate, which has been consistent over the last eight years. This is nearly twice the national initial certification rate of 40%. More information about ESU’s program can be found at www.emporia.edu/jones/nbpts/.



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