Congratulations to the 17 Montana teachers who recently achieved National Board Certification, thus joining the ranks of the nation’s top K-12 educators.
The 17 teachers were informed of their success in December by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, an independent, nonprofit organization.
National Board Certification is a nationally recognized sign of top quality in the field of education.
“Teachers who undertake the National Board Certification process call it the best professional development opportunity of their careers. It’s an extremely rigorous process,” said Eric Feaver, chair of the Montana Professional Teaching Foundation (MPTF). “Our foundation is proud to support Montana teachers who seek this prestigious certification. It is one of the main ways our foundation works to improve teaching and learning in Montana.”
Teachers who pursue National Board Certification must invest an entire year (while also teaching full-time), plus considerable money. It costs $2,500 just to undergo the process.
Since 1997, the Montana Professional Teaching Foundation has provided subsidy scholarships to help teachers pay the cost. In addition, MPTF provides a series of workshops and pays for facilitators – teachers who have already earned the certification — to help Montana teachers navigate the complicated process.
Becoming National Board Certified involves an extensive series of assessments that includes teaching portfolios, student work samples, videos of the teacher in action, and analyses of the teacher’s classroom teaching and student learning. Each teacher compiles these materials over the course of a school year and submits them in the spring.
Every item submitted must demonstrate the teacher’s ability and efforts to meet National Board standards in their field. In addition, teachers must complete a series of written exercises that probe the depth of the teacher’s knowledge of subject matter and teaching techniques.
Teaching professionals throughout the country develop the National Board standards, which are considered the highest standards of professional practice ever developed for the teaching profession.
Montana teachers who succeed in achieving National Board Certification receive a monetary award from the State of Montana, which also helps defray the cost of pursuing the certification.
Increasingly, both nationally and in Montana, lawmakers, school districts, and parents are urging policies that encourage teachers to pursue National Board Certification because they recognize the power this certification has to transform teaching and improve schools.
“Students across the state benefit when a Montana teacher achieves National Board Certification,” Feaver said. “These teachers share their methods and techniques with other teachers statewide. It creates a ripple effect of quality.”
Feaver noted that about 70% of Montana candidates succeed in achieving the certification — among the highest success rates in the nation. “Our foundation is very pleased to play a role in this level of success,” he said.
With the 17 teachers who achieved the certification this year, Montana now has 139 National Board Certified teachers.
“That’s something the whole state can be very proud of,” Feaver said.
The following are Montana’s 17 new National Board Certified teachers:
1. Ashlie Buresh, Literacy: Reading-Language Arts, Kessler Elementary School, Helena
2. Michael Christensen, English Language Arts, Columbia Falls High School
3. Sheila Devins, Generalist, Seeley Lake Elementary
4. Alyson Dorr, English Language Arts, Columbia Falls High School
5. Jennifer Haverluk, Literacy: Reading-Language Arts, Ridge View Elementary School, Belgrade
6. Michele Holmes, Library Media, Seeley Lake Elementary School
7. Linda Kaps, English Language Arts, Columbia Falls High School
8. Jamie McGraw, English Language Arts, C M Russell High School, Great Falls
9. Kirsten Pevey, Literacy: Reading-Language Arts, Lilian Peterson Elementary School, Kalispell
10. Patricia Ritter, Generalist, Longfellow Elementary School, Bozeman
11. Erica Schnee, Social Studies-History, Bozeman High School
12. Kimberly Stout, Literacy: Reading-Language Arts, Four Georgians Elementary School, Helena
13. Chantel Thornsberry, Generalist, Seeley Lake Elementary School
14. Ginger Vanorden, Library Media, Heck-Quaw Elementary School, Belgrade
15. Nicole Vradenburg, Literacy: Reading-Language Arts, Lamotte Elementary School, Belgrade
16. Camla Warfle, Generalist, Boulder Elementary School
17. Colleen Windell, Science, Lolo School
The Montana Professional Teaching Foundation, based in Helena, is committed to encouraging and promoting excellent teaching and learning in Montana. The foundation’s programs include:
• Montana Teacher of the Year Program
• Karen Cox Memorial Grant Program
• National Board Scholarships & Candidate Support
• Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics & Science Teaching
• Jim McGarvey Scholarship for Union Leadership in Public Education and Service