National Board certified teachers

Watauga County Schools teachers Brooke Huffman, Jeanie Hicks, Leslie Howser, Debbie Glover, Lauren Harkey and Rachel Sheppard are recognized for attaining National Board Recertification during the April meeting of the Watauga County Board of Education.

BOONE — Watauga County Schools has been named an Accomplished District by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, a national nonprofit organization that certifies teachers based on a rigorous set of evaluations and standards.

The honor is given to school districts in which 20 percent or more of teachers have achieved National Board certification. Watauga County is one of just 81 school districts across the nation that were awarded the Accomplished District designation.

To achieve a National Board certification, teachers must prepare a series of essays, presentations and videos. These items should demonstrate their content knowledge, differentiation in instruction, command of teaching practices and learning environment and their abilities as an effective and reflective practitioner of teaching.

“Attaining a National Board certification is a serious statement of a teacher’s dedication to their craft,” Watauga County Schools Superintendent Scott Elliott said. “I think it’s one of the best things a teacher can do to advance and nurture his or her professional learning and development. We are fortunate in Watauga to have so many teachers who are willing to undertake the rigorous process of becoming certified. It’s a testament to the quality of the teachers who are leading our classrooms.”

WCS has a National Board certified teacher at each of its schools and across all grade levels.

Tamara Stamey, WCS chief academic officer, said the school district valued board certification highly — providing a system of support to teachers who are interested in undertaking the certification process.

Stamey said the school system is home to a National Board Certification Support Academy made up of veteran certified teachers who meet monthly to aid others in the process, giving feedback to their work and practices as they attain certification.

“National Board certification is one of the most all-encompassing opportunities for professional development a teacher can engage in,” Stamey said. “I think more than anything, the NBPTS is looking for evidence that teachers are evaluating and reflecting on their practices. They want to ensure teachers can demonstrate their ability to understand where their students are, and make a plan to move them forward. These teachers must demonstrate not just their ability in a classroom setting, but their value to a school community as a whole.”

Elliott said the designation was a credit to the high standards districtwide in Watauga County Schools.

“In our strategic plan for the district, we set a goal to provide our students with the best possible education by giving them access to the highest-quality staff,” Elliott said. “National Board certification can be a difficult process to undergo, but importantly, it is one that’s completely voluntary. Those teachers who choose to become certified do so because they are truly called to their profession. They expect the best from their students, and they expect the best from themselves. Without a doubt, those are the kind of teachers we want in our classrooms.”

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