Kentucky recently celebrated the 18 newly certified and 101 newly renewed National Board Certified Teachers (NBCTs) who continue to improve their teaching for the students of the Commonwealth. With 3,292 NBCTs, Kentucky ranks 6th in the nation for the percentage of teachers who are Board-certified (8%) and 9th in the nation for the total number of Board-certified teachers.
This small class of newly Board-certified teachers represents the last to be certified in the 2.0 version. The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards has just completed a transition to a more flexible and accommodating process that can be completed in one to three years while maintaining high and rigorous standards. Kentucky currently has nearly 1,000 teachers that are candidates in the new certification process, placing Kentucky fifth nationally for the total number of candidates, and as one of the top states in the nation in terms of percentage of teachers that are candidates.
Kentucky has consistently ranked in the top ten nationally for the number of Board-certified teachers. James Adams, Executive Director of the Education Professional Standards Board, described board certification as, “the highest credential in the teaching profession.” Adams added, “The progress that Kentucky continues to make towards the legislative goal of having at least one NBCT in every school is something to celebrate. This innovative goal is important for our students.”
At the February 23 event Hal Heiner, Secretary of the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet presented the NBCTs with a proclamation from Governor Bevin proclaiming the day “National Board Certified Teacher Day” in the Commonwealth. “I’m pleased to be presenting this proclamation on behalf of Governor Bevin,” said Secretary Heiner. “These newly board certified teachers are among Kentucky’s most dedicated educators, providing the highest level of learning for the students of our Commonwealth – our future workforce. To achieve this certification, these teachers spent more than 400 hours preparing, planning and analyzing their practice. I applaud them for their steadfast dedication.”
“Achieving National Board Certification is not only a great personal achievement, it also shows our teachers’ strong commitment to their profession and to improving teaching and learning for all Kentucky’s students,” said Commissioner of Education Stephen Pruitt. “I am incredibly proud of our teachers and the work they do across this Commonwealth every day to ensure each one of our students is given an opportunity to reach high levels of achievement that will prepare them to face tomorrow’s challenges.” Commissioner Pruitt presented each NBCT with an official pin from the National Board at the event.
The Kentucky Department of Education, Kentucky Education Association, and the Education Professional Standards Board have worked collaboratively with the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards for three years as a site in the Network to Transform Teaching funded by the U.S. Department of Education Supporting Effective Educator Development (SEED) grant. “Towards the aspiration of supporting every student to learn from accomplished, Board-certified teachers, partners in the Network to Transform Teaching are developing and scaling innovative approaches that strengthen the career trajectory for every teacher,” said Joe Doctor, chief operating officer of the National Board, “Kentucky is a leader in that effort, as it capitalizes on the expertise of Board-certified teachers to lead this work and engages a broad cross-section of stakeholders to ensure coherence for teacher support.”
Three of the new NBCTs are the first in their schools or district. DeAnna Miller, Fulton Independent Supervisor of Instruction, says of the district’s first Board-certified teacher, “Jennifer Caldwell has been a leader for both students and teachers in our district for many years. She shows us what good instruction looks like on a daily basis and is the perfect mentor for other teachers to follow on this distinctive professional pathway.”
“The key to schools of excellence, raising achievement scores and creating a culture of high expectations that ensures future success for ALL kids is building leadership and teacher capacity,” said Henry Webb, Superintendent of Floyd County, who celebrated four new NBCTs at the event. “An accomplished teacher in every classroom in America should be our goal for our KIDS, and I am convinced that the National Board Teacher Certification program is an outstanding process to ensure we meet this goal!”
“Teachers are the power behind National Board Certification. The standards, assessments, and organization are run by teachers and for teachers,” said Holly Bloodworth, NBCT, President of the Kentucky NBCT Network. Bloodworth led the reciting of the Five Core Propositions, the foundation of Board-certification, considered the education profession’s Hippocratic Oath at the ceremony.
National Board Certification is voluntary and open to all teachers who have three years of classroom experience and a baccalaureate degree. National Board Certification is available in 25 certificate areas from preschool through twelfth grade.
Kentucky has strong statewide support for National Board Certification. NBCTs are entitled to an annual $2,000 salary bonus for the life of their certificate. Upon successful completion of Board certification, Kentucky teachers currently holding a Rank II certificate are eligible to apply for Rank I.