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Arizona gains 122 National Board Certified Teachers

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  • Jennifer Liewer/Arizona Department of Education

PHOENIX, Arizona — December 17, 2013—The Arizona Department of Education, the Arizona K12 Center, and the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards announced today that 122 teachers in Arizona achieved National Board Certification this year, demonstrating the knowledge and skills necessary to prepare students for 21st century success.

This brings the total number of National Board Certified Teachers (NBCTs) in Arizona to 1,078, making it 19th in the nation. The state has experienced rapid growth in its National Board program over the past three years, experiencing a 40 percent growth rate in its number of NBCTs since 2010-2011.

To date, more than 106,000 teachers in all 50 states and around the world have achieved this highest mark of accomplishment in the profession through a rigorous, performance-based, peer-review process.

“When teachers achieve National Board Certification, they not only enhance their classrooms but contribute to the quality of their surroundings by becoming leaders in their schools and districts,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthal. “I commend those that have chosen to voluntarily pursue this rigorous certification process towards improving their teaching, and encourage others to take on the challenge for the profession and for the Arizona students they serve.”

In saluting this year’s new NBCTs, Ronald Thorpe, president and CEO of the National Board noted the importance of reaching a “critical mass” of NBCTs working within school and districts.

“Today, only a small fraction of America’s teachers are Board certified,” Thorpe said. “To improve the global competitiveness of our students, we must ensure that every novice teacher is on a trajectory towards accomplished practice.”

Many Arizona school districts pay a stipend to NBCTs. Support for Arizona teachers seeking National Board Certification is available statewide through the Arizona K12 Center, which offers an array of support activities and professional learning opportunities designed to help candidates through every step of the process.

The Center also offers a limited number of scholarships to candidates who complete a pre-candidacy course and make a commitment to finishing the process.

“National Board Certification really strengthened my practice and my resolve to lead,” said Arizona K12 Center’s Executive Director, Kathy Wiebke, who became the state’s first NBCT in 1996 and now serves on the NBPTS Board of Directors. “It opened up new avenues for professional development as I had a reason to engage in substantive conversations with my colleagues about teaching and learning. The process not only proved to be transformational to my practice, I soon learned that it is also contagious—many of those colleagues have since become certified themselves!”

“The path to higher expectations and a world-class education in Arizona requires great teachers,” says Pearl Chang Esau, president and CEO of Expect More Arizona. “National Board Certified Teachers are setting high expectations for themselves as they put their practice up for review against a set of rigorous standards. National Board Certified Teachers are accomplished professionals who are an example of excellence in Arizona’s public schools.”

Former Arizona State Senator Rich Crandall states: “The big thing about National Board Certification is the focus on the quality of your teaching. We rely on superior teachers and superior instruction for kids to be ready for Arizona’s College and Career Ready Standards. The Arizona K12 Center is at the forefront of the effort to bring that superior teaching into every one of the state’s classrooms.”

NBCTs are shaping the profession in Arizona and nationally. Washington State NBCT Jeff Charbonneau was named National Teacher of the Year in 2013. Arizona NBCT Cheryl Redfield, was a selected as a 2012 Teacher Ambassador Fellow by the U.S. Department of Education. In 2013, Daniela Robles, NBCT, was appointed to the Board of Directors of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. Most recently, NBCT Beth Maloney was named 2014 Arizona Teacher of the Year.

“The importance of National Board Certification lies in what it conveys about the teacher who achieves it,” said Maloney, a teacher at Sunset Hills Elementary in the Dysart Unified School District in Maricopa County. “It is the evidence of a dedicated, professional teacher who is an expert in the field of education, who embodies leadership, lifelong learning and a commitment to schools, colleagues and students.”

The new NBCTs will be recognized at the Arizona K12 Center’s Fifth Annual Celebration of Accomplished Teaching on February 1, 2014, at the Camelback Inn in Scottsdale. The Arizona K12 Center and Arizona Public Service are sponsoring this event.

Research has shown that National Board Certified Teachers (NBCTs) have a significant impact on student achievement and that their students outperform their peers in other classrooms. Most recently, a 2012 study by Harvard University’s Strategic Data Project found that students of NBCTs in the Los Angeles Unified School District made learning gains equivalent to an additional two months of instruction in math and one month in English Language Arts.

National Board Certification is available in 25 certificate areas from Pre-K through 12th grades. National Board Standards are written for teachers, by teachers and accomplished teachers are represented at every level of the organization, from key staff roles to the NBPTS Board of Directors and the Certification Council, which guides policy and implementation of the certification program. This fall the National Board announced revisions to the certification process that will help ensure more students across the country have the opportunity to learn from Board-certified teachers. Learn more about the revisions here.

About the Arizona K12 Center (
The Arizona K12 Center was created in 1999 by the Arizona Legislature at the request of Governor Jane Dee Hull and continues to be directly affiliated with Northern Arizona University and the College of Education. The mission of the Arizona K12 Center is to improve teaching and learning in Arizona’s schools through high quality professional development and teacher leadership. We understand that when we support teachers to improve their practice we are impacting student learning in the classroom.

About the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (
The mission of the National Board is to advance student learning and achievement by establishing the definitive standards and systems for certifying accomplished educators, providing programs and advocating policies that support excellence in teaching and leading, and engaging National Board Certified Teachers and leaders in that process.