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About the Great Plains Center for National Teacher Certification

professional development at no cost for teachers in Kansas

The Great Plains Center for National Teacher Certification, located in Visser Hall, on the Emporia State University campus, offers a professional development program at no cost for teachers in Kansas going through the NBPTS assessment process.

The center’s program has the support of the president of NBPTS and the Kansas Board of Regents. It is the only institute in Kansas that has support from both.

The center’s program of support consistently achieves a certification rate well above the national average. Repeatedly, the initial success rates of teachers using the center's services have averaged nearly 80% compared to the nation’s average of 40%.

As of May 2023, NBPTS lists 490 Kansas teachers who have achieved National Board Certification. Of these, more than 90% received assistance from the Great Plains Center.

The Director of the Center, and the National Board Certified Teachers (NBCTs) in Kansas who serve as candidate support providers for the program:

  • are knowledgeable about the NBPTS assessments and the various certifications available; in fact, many are additionally certified as candidate support providers by NBPTS;
  • have delivered a program of professional support for teachers going through the NBPTS process since 1993, when the first certificates were field tested;
  • can generally be reached during the day, as well as in the evenings and weekends;
  • provide professional guidance, advice, and review of candidate portfolio entries;
  • offer tips and suggestions on writing and organizing portfolio entries and documentation;
  • conduct work sessions to assist candidates with portfolio entry development and review; and
  • conduct workshops to help teachers prepare for the written assessment center exercises.

National Board Certification, as developed by NBPTS, is a powerful professional development process with the potential to promote systemic change. However, what began in 1987 as a system to identify and reward accomplished teaching practice has developed into a professional development experience that has been described by some as nothing short of transformational. Many teachers, regardless of the certification outcome, consider this performance-based assessment the most powerful professional development experience of their careers.

For teachers with a highly accomplished practice, the NBPTS assessment provides the reward and recognition their important work deserves. For those who have not yet achieved this high level of classroom practice, the certification process is a guide for developing a reflective practice that can improve their level of knowledge, strengthen their teaching skills, inspire supportive and nurturing dispositions, and refine professional judgment.

National Board Certification for teachers is a voluntary, advanced certification assessment process offered by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS). To receive the NBPTS application, call 1-800-22TEACH or visit their website at