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Kansas Teachers Earn Accolade Despite 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 an elementary, middle, or high school classroom – and schooling during a pandemic makes it more difficult. However, 27 Kansas determined educators persevered and earned their first-time certification or maintained their status as National Board Certified Teachers.

  • New National Board Certified Teachers in Kansas are:
    USD 229 Blue Valley – Cherin Palermo (Leawood Middle School)
  • USD 233 Olathe – Alisha Morris (Olathe West High School)
  • USD 383 Manhattan-Ogden – Sam Cool (Bluemont Elementary School), Jancy Davis (Manhattan High School), Hope Perry (formerly at Henderson Mill Elementary School, now in Dekalb County, GA)
  • USD 489 Hays – Laura Gaughan (O'Loughlin Elementary School), Jessie Groff (Wilson Elementary School), Laurenda Jacobs (Wilson Elementary School), Tracy Roe-Archer (Wilson Elementary School)
  • USD 497 Lawrence – Cynthia Emery (Quail Run Elementary School)
  • USD 450 Shawnee Heights – Robyn Aeschliman (Shawnee Heights High School)
  • USD 501 Topeka – Rhonda Gadino (Jardine Elementary School), Clare Hurtgen Kwan (Topeka High School)

Teachers successfully maintaining their NBCT status:

  • USD 229 Blue Valley – Lisa Bauman (Blue Valley West High School), Jennifer R. Smith (Overland Trail Middle School)
  • USD 232 De Soto – Wendy Ping (Monticello Trails Middle School)
  • USD 233 Olathe – Lisa Frahm (Manchester Park Elementary School)
  • USD 500 Kansas City, KS – Erin Hathaway (Whittier Elementary School)
  • USD 259 Wichita – Rachel Aponso, Arvilla Bennett (Hadley Middle School), Tonya Howard (Wichita Southeast High School)
  • USD 266 Maize – Monte Slaven (Maize South Middle School)
  • USD 402 Augusta – Leann Buethner (Augusta Middle School)
  • USD 440 Halsted – Christina Bauer (Halstead Middle School)
  • USD 497 Lawrence – Caitlin DeFilippo (Sunflower Elementary School)
  • USD 437 Auburn-Washburn – Jenni Howard (Auburn Elementary School, Indian Hills Elementary School, Jay Shideler Elementary School), Nikki Meier (Farley Elementary School)

Teachers were notified in December if they achieved the certification they worked for during the last school year.

Less than half of teacher candidates successfully complete this process and achieve certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. Thirteen of these teachers achieved certification on their first attempt. The remaining 14 had gone through the process before and chose to do the work to maintain their certification; two of these teachers earned their first national board certification 20 years ago.

“Teachers involved in the process last year faced major complications caused by the pandemic,” said Alvin Peters, director of Emporia State University’s program which assists teachers working toward national certification. “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.”

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; NBCTs renewing their certification must present new evidence that they are maintaining NBPTS standards in their classrooms. 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 their initial certification.

These Kansas teachers were mentored through a program at ESU, the Great Plains Center for National Teacher Certification, which has an estimated a 77% 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 486 National Board Certified Teachers. To date, there are 130,493 NBCTs in the US. In order to be a candidate for 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 Research confirms students taught by NBCTs learn more than students taught by other teachers, being able to cover more material than classrooms of teachers who are not NBCTs. More information about ESU’s mentoring program can be found at

About NBCT

More than a decade of research shows students taught by National Board Certified Teachers (NBCTs) learn more than students taught by other teachers. Estimates of the increase in learning are on the order of an additional one to two months of instruction and the positive impact is even greater for high-need students. More information on these studies can be found at

Kansas is 35th in the number of NBCTs.

Kansas is tied at 26th for the number of new NBCTs for 2021.

Kansas is tied at 35th for the number of renewed/maintained NBCTs for 2021.

Kansas is tied at 35th in states by percentage of NBCTs, with 1.33%.

More information can be found from: