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Kansas Teachers Achieve Certification, Again

In spite of a school year that was interrupted and adapted to online instruction, a handful of Kansas teachers were able to persevere to achieve the highest honor of the teaching profession.

The four educators worked to renew their national board certification and were notified recently by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards that they were successful.

The teachers are:

  • Karla Fickes, English/language arts teacher at Clay Center Community Middle School, USD 379 Clay Center, certificate area: early childhood to young adult/exceptional needs specialist; who has been a National Board Certified Teacher since 2011. Fickes is one of four NBCTs in USD 379.
  • Patrick Kelly, directed studies teacher at Seaman High School, USD 345 Seaman, certificate area: early childhood to young adult/exceptional needs specialist; who has been a NBCT since 2001. Kelly is one of seven NBCTs in USD 345.
  • Nicole Miller, English/language arts teacher at Frontier Middle School, USD 233 Olathe, certificate area: middle childhood/generalist; who has been a NBCT since 2001. Miller is one of 51 NBCTs in USD 233.
  • DeAnn Ricketts, Math and AVID teacher at Truesdell Middle School, USD 259 Wichita, certificate area: early adolescence/mathematics; who has been a NBCT since 2011. Ricketts is one of 43 NBCTs in USD 259.

“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 toward 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.’”

Teachers can seek certification in one of 25 certificate areas representing 16 different disciplines and four developmental levels and is applicable to most teachers in U.S. public schools.

“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,” Peters said, as often the process is misunderstood to mean a teacher passed a test or was nominated for the award.

Because of the global pandemic of coronavirus, NBPTS extended the deadline for teachers to submit their work. Those teachers who submitted their portfolios at the later deadlines will receive word in 2021 as to whether they successfully renewed their national board certification.

Emporia State’s Great Plains Center for National Teacher Certification maintains a 99.5% renewal rate since 2005 with candidates achieving recertification on their first attempt. 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 one percent of all educators in Kansas. The voluntary process is the equivalent of national board certification for physicians and other health professions.

There are 467 teachers in Kansas who are NBCTs and nearly 126,000 NBCTs across the country.

To see a list of NBCTs, go to