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More Kansas Teachers Achieve National Board Certification in Spite of Pandemic

Doing the work required to become board certified in any profession is difficult. When the board certification demands you demonstrate your skill – like teaching in a elementary, middle, or high school classroom – and schooling goes mostly online makes it extremely difficult. However, three more determined Kansas educators persevered and earned their first-time certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards and one other teacher successfully worked to renew her certification.

New and renewed National Board Certified Teachers in Kansas are:

USD 229 Blue Valley –

  • Stacey Dickerson, a sixth grade science teacher at Pleasant Ridge Middle School, earned her certification in middle childhood generalist
  • Susan Rosenberg, a first grade teacher at Mission Trail Elementary School, earned her certification in early childhood childhood generalist
  • Mary Livingston, a teacher at Overland Trail Middle School, renewed her certification in early adolescence to young adulthood: English as a new language.

USD 259 Wichita – Teralyn Cohn, an English/language arts teacher at Wichita High School Southeast, earned her certification in adolescence to young adulthood: English/language arts.

Teachers were notified in March if they achieved the certification they worked for during the last school year. Less than half of applicants successfully complete this process and achieve National Board Certification. These teachers achieved certification on their first attempt.

“Renewing NBCT status is not the same process as renewing a driver’s license, for instance,” said Alvin Peters, director of Emporia State University’s program which assists teachers working toward national certification. “Livingston has been a NBCT since 2010 and chose to undergo the same amount of work she had a decade ago in order to renew her certification.”

“Because of changes with deadlines due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, this is the second wave of candidates the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards notified of their success,” Peters explained. “Earlier year, other Kansas educators learned they had achieved national board certification as well, either for the first time or successfully renewed their certification.”

“Teachers involved in the process last year faced major complications caused by the pandemic,” Peters said. “Because of those complications, they were given the choice of completing and submitting their documentation – including videos of them teaching – by the original deadline, deferring to a later deadline, or withdrawing from the process. While some completed by the original deadline and others had to defer because it was impossible to complete by the original deadline, no Kansans chose to withdraw, which is a credit to their determination.”

USD 229 Blue Valley has the most number of National Board Certified Teachers in the state, with 111. USD 259 Wichita has the third most number of NBCTs, with 46.

The National Board process is focused entirely on knowledge and practice in all aspects of teaching. The teacher must present evidence which clearly shows their teaching meets the National Board Standards. The process is voluntary and not mandated by a state, school district, or program; teachers choose to seek National Board Certification. Teachers often take three to five years of continual work to achieve certification.

These Kansas teachers were mentored through a program at ESU, the Great Plains Center for National Teacher Certification, which has an estimated a 76% initial certification rate over the past 15 years. This is nearly twice the national initial certification rate of 40%.

Kansas now has a total of 480 National Board Certified Teachers. To date, there are 128,554 NBCTs in the US. Before certification, teachers must have a bachelor’s degree, a valid state teaching license and three years’ experience in the classroom.

The national board standards were created by teachers. The standards represent a consensus for 25 certificate areas in 16 disciplines, including art, English, mathematics, science, world languages, school education and physical education, from pre-kindergarten through high school and six student development levels from early childhood through adolescence.

The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards was launched in 1987; information about NBPTS can be found at More than a decade of research from across the country confirms students taught by NBCTs learn more than students taught by other teachers. More information about ESU’s mentoring program can be found at


Information about Kansas and National Board Certification can be found at