Teachers Achieve National Board Certification

December 28, 2015 08:00 AM

Five District teachers achieved or renewed their National Board Certification in 2015, according to the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. The District currently has 58 National Board Certified teachers in its classrooms – the highest number of any school district in Iowa!

A voluntary assessment program designed to develop, recognize, and retain accomplished teachers, National Board Certification (NBC) is achieved through a performance-based assessment that typically takes one to three years to complete. National Board Certified Teachers must successfully demonstrate advanced teaching knowledge, skills, and practices.

NBC is recognized as a model for identifying accomplished teaching practice and is supported by teachers and administrators nationwide. All 50 states, the District of Columbia and hundreds of local school districts recognize National Board Certification as a mark of distinction.

“One of the most exciting dimensions of National Board Certification is that it is a process created by teachers, for teachers,” noted Dr. Brad Buck, Superintendent. “The four components of the process: a content knowledge assessment, reflections on student work samples, classroom video and analysis, and documentation of the teacher's impact as a teaching professional, lead to deep self-reflection. It is a distinction of accomplished teaching. As such, we are proud of the teachers in our District who are Nationally Board Certified.”

District teachers who earned or renewed their National Board Certification in 2015 are:

Kristina Dvorak (new) teaches visual art at Washington High School. She is an 11-year educator with the District. She received undergraduate degrees from Iowa State University and Mount Mercy University. She earned a master’s degree from the University of Iowa. 

I did this (NBC) to challenge myself to become more reflective as a teacher and in the decisions I make in the classroom,” she noted. “As a result of going through this incredibly reflective process, I have become more aware of every decision I make and how those decisions affect my students and their work.  I work to make sure all decisions are made in a purposeful way in order to be a more effective teacher.” 

Erin L. Ennis (new) has taught in the District for 12 years and is a visual art teacher at Kennedy High School. She earned her bachelor’s degree in education from Trenton State College in Ewing, NJ, and is currently pursuing a master’s degree from the University of Iowa. 

“I was introduced to the National Board process through other art teachers in the District,” said Ennis. “After doing more research I found that almost all who have gone through the process have found it to be extremely rewarding. After many years in the profession, I knew this sounded like the perfect opportunity to reassess my teaching practices.”

Sarah Kay Crippen (renewal) is a 16-year educator with the District and currently teaches second grade at Arthur Elementary School. She earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Iowa.

“The National Board process helped me reflect on my teaching and plan purposefully for my student’s learning,” she noted.

Terry Kahler (renewal) has taught in the District for 17 years. He earned both his undergraduate and master’s degrees from the University of Northern Iowa and a doctorate from the University of South Dakota. He currently teaches AP biology and advance biology at Washington High School. 

Kahler explained that he chose to pursue NBC “to continue on my journey as a lifelong learner, obtain quality professional development, help students reach their potentials, stimulate leadership skills, and to challenge myself to achieve excellence not easily obtainable in other ways.” 

Tracy Simmons (renewal) teaches second grade at Truman Elementary School and has been with the District for 17 years. Simmons earned her bachelor’s degree from Mount Mercy University and a master’s degree from Walden University.

“I pursued NBC as an early childhood generalist immediately after earning my master’s degree,” she said. “I thought it would be an appropriate complement to my graduate degree, while also posing a different kind of academic challenge. This professional development opportunity continues to help me improve and reflect on my teaching practices. Meaningful reflection and adjusting lessons when needed advances student learning. Attaining NBC is one of the varied, meaningful ways I have grown as a professional.” 


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