83 Bellevue Teachers earn National Certification in 2008

Maureen Hallock

While Bellevue students are hard at work cranking out homework and studying for exams, a large number of Bellevue teachers are in the same boat.

The Bellevue School District ranks first in the state for the number of National Board Certified teachers (NBCT), a distinguished award recognizing excellence in teaching and the advancement of education.

A total of 83 Bellevue teachers earned board certification in 2008. Overall, there are 208 board certified teachers in the district. Currently 90 Bellevue teachers are candidates, working towards the National Boards for 2009.

To achieve National Board certification, teachers must demonstrate they are able to modify their instruction to meet the specific needs of students and demonstrate their content expertise in the areas they teach. The process is rigorous and challenging, requiring participants to submit an extensive portfolio showcasing their teaching ability, understanding, and skill level in both essay and video form.

Additionally, candidates must pass a full-day national exam on the content they teach to prove academic proficiency and qualification.

To date, 5.3 percent of teachers in Washington state are board certified. In Bellevue, nearly 20 percent of the teaching force are now Board Certified, leading the Seattle School District by 26 certifications.

“The National Boards process has made me reflective of the effectiveness of my teaching and keenly aware of the learning of each of my students,” said Kristi Stroyan, a teacher at Medina Elementary who earned an Early Childhood Generalist National Board Certification.

Bellevue teachers receive support for their efforts to become certified from the Bellevue Schools Foundation and the district which together cover 100 percent of the of fees, facilitators, and a program coordinator. The district covers the cost of hiring a videographer to assist with the candidates video entries.

“The support given by the Foundation and district is unmatched and without it, it’s likely many teachers wouldn’t be able to financially afford to undergo the application process,” explained Bellevue National Board Program Coordinator Melissa Slater, who received her Middle Childhood Generalist Board Certification in 2002 while teaching at Somerset Elementary.

The fees amount to nearly $3,000 per teacher.

Legislation passed in 2007 awards a $5,000 bonus to each certified teacher.

Every September, the BSF hires 8 to 10 certified teachers to join the district and help mentor teachers going through the process. The certified teachers are available to answer questions, meet during non-work hours, review essay entries and help guide the candidates through the challenging process.

Teachers earning National Certification report spending between 200 to 400 hours in professional development and reflection through this process. The National Board certification process is similar to the expectations of an earned Master’s Degree, however, candidates have only one year to gather and document evidence for their portfolios.

According to Slater, the candidacy process helps teachers to become more intentional about their teaching style.

“As a teacher, you learn to concentrate on teaching in an individualized manner, focusing on each individual students needs and the class as a whole,” she explained. “The process trains you to be reflective and thoughtful about how you teach and you learn to constantly evaluate yourself and your students. You begin to examine the value in everything you teach and asking yourself how the lesson will better prepare the students for further learning.”

In order to continue with financial support for the NBCT, the Bellevue School’s Foundation needs the continued support of the community to better the teachers, the schools, and the students who will become the future leaders of the community.

“The Foundation is able to cover the steep costs because of the generous donations from community leaders, businesses, parents and concerned citizens. Without the communities support, our teachers wouldn’t have this opportunity to better themselves and the students they teach,” Slater confirmed.

Lindsay Larin can be reached at 425.453.4602.

For more information on the Bellevue School’s Foundation visit www.bsfdn.org, 425.456.4199.

New certified teachers in 2008

83 Bellevue teachers receive National Board Certification in 2008:

Gaines, Sherry – Ardmore

Vale, Ginny – Ardmore

Chapman, Monica – Bellevue High

Golding, Byrona – Bellevue High

Hallberg, Charise – Bellevue High

Madsen, Nicole – Bellevue High

VanDyke, Patrick – Bellevue High

Johnson, Sarah – Bennett

Heinemann, Brett – Cherry Crest

Nordstrom, Mary – Cherry Crest

Oleson, Gail – Cherry Crest

Tamayo, Mercy – Cherry Crest

Jordan, Kerry – Chinook

Michelet, Lisa – Chinook

Saxon, Ingrid – Chinook

Staggs, Erin Howell – Chinook

Clark, Holly – Eastgate

Clayton, Kindra – Enatai

Wyckoff, Lissa – Enatai

Clarke, Sara – Highland

Davies, Monica – Highland

Maki, Mai – Highland

Mordaunt, Michelle – Highland

Alvarez, Lindzee – Interlake High

Collomb, Sandrine – Interlake High

Foster, Nancy – International

Truax, Tamara – International

Baileykaze, Ric – Lake Hills

McLane, Kristine – Lake Hills

Otteson, Danielle – Lake Hills

Stevens, Jennifer – Lake Hills

Vrbka, Jean – Lake Hills

Bethel, Erin G. – Medina

Brown, Lindsey – Medina

Nowak, Rebecca – Medina

Stroyan, Kristi Bryson – Medina

Benda, Jason – Newport High

Borth, Jerry – Newport High

Driscoll, Kimberly – Newport High

Eisenhauer, Matt – Newport High

Falkenhagen, Lisa – Newport High

George, Edd – Newport High

Gonsiorowski, Jennifer – Newport High

Heffter, Nate – Newport High

Nara, Scott – Newport High

Nehring, Sarah – Newport High

Nonis, Jake – Newport High

Prufer, Rob – Newport High

Tate, Helene – Newport High

Upham, Elsa – Newport High

Hallock, Maureen – Newport Heights

Marion, Christine – Newport Heights

Lambert, Sarah – Phantom Lake

Tuupo, Leann – Phantom Lake

Brewer, Stacy – Puesta del Sol

McCleary, Rocio – Puesta del Sol

Anstett, Kristin – Robinswood

Schoeneman, Nicole – Robinswood

Bright, Jeff – Sammamish High

Burress, Don – Sammamish High

Danielson, Tom – Sammamish High

Hanify, TJ – Sammamish High

Mapes, Amy – Sammamish High

Drennan, Jessica – Sherwood Forest

Kline, Lyndsy – Sherwood Forest

Muchlinski, Julie – Sherwood Forest

Sun, Jennifer – Sherwood Forest

Dhatt, Kelli – Somerset

McCaskey, Lisa – Somerset

Frank, Pam – Stevenson

Duerr, Rob – Stevenson

Heady, Tessa – Stevenson

Shimizu, Nicole – Stevenson

Dumas Meyering, Julia – Tillicum

Goldman, Jennifer – Tillicum

Boettcher, Mary – Tyee

Da, Laura – Tyee

Abbott, Dawn (Armitage) – Woodridge

Ellis, Mackenzie – Woodridge

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