Six teachers in Chandler Unified School District earned or renewed their National Board for Professional Teaching Standards certification, joining a class of more than 2,800 teachers nationwide for the 2022-2023 school year.
CUSD has 33 National Board Certified teachers.
The NBPTS mission is to establish quality benchmarks for the teaching profession and certify that teachers meet those high standards. After a rigorous application process, certified teachers have access to benefits like financial incentives, state recognition, leadership opportunities, and support networks.
"National Board Certification sets a standard of excellence for the teaching profession, similar to how other professional careers have boards that they study for and take to show expertise,” Basha High School teacher Erica Davis said. “Education leaders developed this process to help elevate the profession, but it also helps teachers reach their potential by engaging them in deep reflection of their practice. But the main focus is on success for the students, and the positive impact of becoming Board Certified on the methods of teaching has been proven to improve student outcomes.”
Davis teaches AP Literature and AP Seminar. She has taught at Basha High for 18 years, her entire teaching career. She first became an NBCT in December 2018. She renewed her certificate in December 2022, joining the additional three teachers who renewed their certifications this school year, and her commitment to NBPTS didn't stop at certification. She became a Candidate Support Provider for CUSD teachers who wanted to pursue an NBCT.
"After certifying, I wanted to help others achieve because I had a great support system that gave me feedback during my process,” she said. “I am also just a ‘doer.’ I like working in a capacity that feels meaningful and fulfilling. Helping teachers through the stressful process feels like giving back to a profession I love. Nothing is more satisfying than learning that someone else has achieved! Celebrating these accomplishments allows others to see the good in our profession and schools. I have been helping for these 5 years since I finished my application, and this year our district has added to the support through Abby Druck and the professional development team, and Frank Narducci and Human Resources showing us that they value the work we put in, and our expertise in the classrooms and in leading in our district.”
Davis said she loves how being an NBCT opened doors for her as a teacher leader, especially being named an Ambassador of Excellence for the Arizona Educational Foundation in 2018. It allowed her to work on the Teachers Solution Team through the Arizona K-12 Center at Northern Arizona University to lead the annual Teacher Leadership Institute each June, something Davis enthusiastically refers to as "a teacher summer camp."
The experience has given her a state-wide network of colleagues who are passionate about teaching, too.
New NBCT Kerri Williams, Carlson Elementary School's media specialist, has been teaching for 22 years, 20 as a librarian. She said she decided to pursue the National Board Certification to gain more insight into her craft, specifically how to improve her lessons for a bigger impact on student achievement. She is the first librarian in Chandler Unified's history to certify with a Library Media Certificate, and she is one of five in the state that currently holds the certificate.
"The NBCT process is challenging,” Williams said. “I have three master's degrees and becoming a National Board Certified Teacher was definitely the hardest thing I have done during my professional library career. I'm excited to see what leadership opportunities will become available now that I am an NBCT teacher. I would love to mentor other teachers, especially librarians, on how to navigate the NBCT process so they can certify as well.”
The application process consists of four components:
A computer-based assessment in your certificate area
A differentiated instruction in which applicants analyze student strengths and weaknesses and then design and teach lessons to increase student growth
A video recording of yourself teaching lessons and writing a commentary
A self-reflection piece, which includes reflecting on how applicants used formative and summative assessments to increase student achievement