Montana celebrates its 7 newest National Board Certified Teachers

 MEA-MFT Public Policy Director Marco Ferro celebrates with Nichole Sullivan, Anika McCauley, and Cam Warfle of Boulder, three of Montana’s seven newest National Board Certified (NBC) teachers. Warfle completed her NBC last year but was also celebrated at the Boulder Elementary event.
Sept. 2015

This fall, Superintendent of Public Instruction Denise Juneau and MEA-MFT are celebrating – and rewarding --the state’s seven newest National Board Certified teachers. These teachers recently joined the ranks of the nation’s top teachers by achieving National Board Certification (NBC).

NBC is the highest level of certification a U.S. teacher can earn. National Board Certification (NBC) is earned through the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, a nonprofit organization that sets national standards for teaching excellence.

Achieving NBC is no easy feat. Candidates spend nine months subjecting their teaching practice to peer review and criticism. They complete extensive portfolios documenting their teaching performance, including video of classroom instruction. They also sit for rigorous written tests.

“I don’t think there is any more difficult process than to have your colleagues judge you,” Montana Superintendent of Public Instruction Denise Juneau said. “But what I hear from every NBC candidate is that it’s the best thing they’ve done to become better teachers.”

Improving their teaching practice is what drives teachers to undertake this grueling and expensive process. But in Montana, there is a financial reward as well: Recognizing the value of encouraging teachers to achieve NBC, the state provides a one-time $3,000 stipend to teachers who succeed.

Here are Montana’s seven newest National Board Certified teachers:

• Craig Beals, Billings Senior High, Billings, Mont.

• Georgia LaForge, Hyalite Elementary School, Bozeman, Mont.

• Kelsi Luhnow, Seeley Lake Elementary School, Seeley Lake, Mont.

• Anika McCauley, Boulder Elementary School, Boulder, Mont.

• Christine O’Shea, Hyalite Elementary School, Bozeman, Mont.

• Nichole Sullivan, Boulder 7-8, Boulder, Mont.

• Sharon Teague, Seeley Lake Elementary School, Seeley Lake, Mont.

These teachers received their certificates in a range of disciplines including science, English/language arts, and generalist.

Superintendent Juneau has been traveling around the state to award the stipend checks to Montana’s seven newest NBC teachers this fall, along with representatives from MEA-MFT, Montana’s union for teachers and other public employees. MEA-MFT, through its Montana Professional Teaching Foundation, facilitates the National Board Certification process in Montana.

“It’s a big part of our mission,” said Marco Ferro, public policy director at MEA-MFT. “We’ve housed NBC since it came to Montana in 1997. We’ve trained 16 facilitators to work with NBC candidates across the state. We bring candidates together and follow up with them throughout the process. It’s all about improving teaching and learning in Montana’s public schools.”

Montana now has 148 NBC teachers. That’s great news for Montana’s public school students, because National Board Certified teachers tend to become leaders, leading and inspiring better teaching throughout their communities and the state.

While every state has its own teacher licensing system, the NBC process gives teachers a chance to go beyond basic licensure requirements and develop advanced teaching knowledge and skills.

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