A record number of Daviess County Public Schools educators have earned designation as National Board Certified Teachers by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.
Thirteen teachers representing nine schools join 28 others for a total of 41 active educators in the DCPS district who have achieved and maintained this exemplary standard of teaching excellence.
The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards is an organization dedicated to improving schools and student learning by strengthening the quality of those who teach. The board sponsors a national certification process that measures a teacher’s practices against high standards of excellence. This involves an extensive series of performance-based assessments that includes teaching portfolios, student work samples, videotapes and a thorough analysis of the candidates’ classroom teaching and student learning. Teachers also complete a series of written exercises that explore the depth of their subject-matter knowledge as well as their understanding of how best to teach these subjects to their students.
Earning this designation is an extremely demanding process and only an elite few who attempt it are successful.
DCPS assistant superintendent for teaching and learning Jana Beth Francis, who is also an NBCT educator, said, “The process of applying for National Board Teacher Certification remains the most reflective professional learning experience of my career. To this day, when I’m in the classroom, I still remember key components of the National Board process, such as focusing on the best questions to advance the learner forward. Our students and families will benefit from this new class of NBCT certified teachers. Our team of National Board Certified Teachers in DCPS demonstrates each and every day that to be Kids First, teachers must learn to help all students succeed.”
DCPS teachers earning designation as National Board Certified Teachers, their schools and their areas of certification are:
Resa Bash, Sorgho Elementary School – Literacy: Reading/Language
Bash is currently in her 27th year in education, including 21 in the classroom, four years as a reading intervention teacher and two years in her current position as a literacy coach. “As a lifelong learner, I was excited by the challenge to pursue National Board certification and the opportunity to refine my practice,” Bash said. “Through this process of deep self-reflection, I am now better equipped as a coach to mentor and support teachers within their own practice, as well as help students grow as passionate, successful readers.”
Rachelle Brown, Meadow Lands Elementary School – Generalist/Middle Childhood
Brown has been a teacher at MLES for eight years. For the past five years, she has taught all subject areas as a third-grade teacher. “I chose to pursue National Board certification to grow and push myself to become a better teacher,” Brown said. “Through this process, I have learned how to reflect on my students and teaching in order to be the best teacher I can be. I have a passion for teaching. I knew going through this process would help me to take a deeper look at myself as a teacher and to improve my teaching practices to benefit the students in my classrooms.”
Sonya Callis, Tamarack Elementary School – Exceptional Needs Specialist/Early Childhood Through Young Adulthood – Mild/Moderate Disabilities (ages 5 – 21-plus)
Callis earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in exceptional children, learning and behavior disorders. She began her career as an instructional assistant and has been a teacher at TES for 12 years. “It is my desire to expand my education to challenge myself as a teacher of exceptional needs,” Callis said. “Each student requires differentiation in teaching. Through this certification, I am better equipped to meet those needs and to evaluate my teaching strategies.”
Maisie Cessna, Southern Oaks Elementary School – Literacy: Reading/Language Arts/Early and Middle Childhood
Cessna has taught every subject area at every grade level during her 11-year career. She current teaches fourth- and fifth-grade math and science at SOES. “I chose to pursue National Board certification in literacy because I wanted to earn my Rank I in the most beneficial way possible for my students,” Cessna said. “The National Boards process forced me to analyze and reflect on my daily instructional practices, to evaluate why I do what I do for my students, and to gain confidence to make the necessary changes to meet the learning needs of all of my students.”
Steve Easley, Daviess County High School – Social Studies/History: Adolescence and Young Adulthood
Easley joined DCHS in 2007 and has taught math and social studies, including multiple Advanced Placement courses. “Initially I began the National Board process with the goal of achieving my Rank I, but quickly realized that the NBCT process allowed me the opportunity to grow in my content knowledge and to truly reflect on my teaching practice,” Easley said. “I certainly grew as an educator throughout this process and know my students will benefit from this experience as well.”
Amber J. Hall, Daviess County High School – English Language Arts/Adolescence and Young Adulthood
Hall began her teaching career in 2010 with the past six years spent at DCHS. About earning NBCT certification, Hall said, “Since I asked my students to challenge their own thinking daily, I believed it was an appropriate task to review my teaching practices through reflection and analysis in an effort to be a lifelong learner. The NBCT process revealed the importance of knowing one’s students, allowing for student choice in daily lessons, and evaluating student data and progress in order to empower students to become stakeholders in the learning process.”
Heather Lee, Southern Oaks Elementary School – Literacy: Reading/Language Arts/Early and Middle Childhood
Lee began her career as a second-grade teacher at Utica Elementary School in 2006 and currently teaches fourth- and fifth-grade English/language arts and social studies at SOES. “I chose National Board certification to transform my teaching practice into a more analytical process by reflecting on individual students’ learning needs,” Lee said. “Additionally, this process taught me to think systematically and to evaluate my management of monitoring student learning, all the while seeking ways to work collaboratively with other professionals and creatively with parents.”
Angela M. Lindsey, Tamarack Elementary School – Literacy: Reading/Language Arts/Early and Middle Childhood
Throughout her career in education, which began in 1996, Lindsey has taught all grades from kindergarten to grade 5. She has been a teacher at TES since 2009. “I chose to pursue National Board certification in literacy to further develop my teaching practice and craft, and to better meet the needs of my students,” Lindsey said. “The certification process was a catalyst for deeper reflection of my instruction and analysis of my students’ progress, making necessary changes based on student need.”
Natalie Miller, Sorgho Elementary School – Literacy: Reading/Language Arts/Early and Middle Childhood
Miller is a literacy specialist who began her teaching career at SES six years ago as a fifth-grade reading teacher. She is currently teaching second grade. “I chose to pursue my National Board certification to demonstrate to my students my commitment to education, my love of learning, and as a means of evaluating my craft,” Miller said. “The process made me a more reflective and intentional teacher.”
Olga Payne, Daviess County Middle School – Science/Early Adolescence
Payne began teaching in England, where she taught high school science for 10 years. She has been teaching science at DCMS since 2010. “I chose to pursue National Boards as a challenge to myself; to reflect on my teaching and to analyze my instructional practices,” Payne said. “Through this evaluation and deep self-reflection, the certification process confirmed the choices I make with my students on a daily basis. My students are challenged with high expectations, rigor and engaging activities in all my lessons.”
Melissa Reed, Burns Elementary School – Exceptional Needs Specialist/Early Childhood Through Young Adulthood
Reed began her teaching career in 2005 as a third-grade teacher at Livermore Elementary School and has been a special education teacher at BES for the last six years. “I chose to pursue National Board certification to learn more about myself as an educator and how I can best meet the diverse needs of my students,” Reed said. “The NBCT process taught me how to reflect on my teaching practices and refine those practices to create rigorous, engaging lessons.”
Teresa Smith, College View Middle School – English Language Arts/Early Adolescence
Smith began her teaching career in Lebanon, Ind., teaching eighth-grade language arts for seven years. She has been teaching language arts at CVMS since 2004.
“I decided to pursue National Board certification to become a more reflective and thoughtful practitioner,” Smith said. “Through the process, I was able to analyze what I do as an educator in order to better serve my students. What I learned about myself as an educator through the NBCT experience helps me to know that I am meeting my students’ needs each day.
Terri Zborowski, Burns Middle School – Exceptional Needs Specialist/Early Childhood Through Young Adulthood
Zborowski began her teaching career in Winchester, teaching elementary students with moderate to severe disabilities. Since moving back to Daviess County, she has taught at Tamarack Elementary School and is currently teaching in a multiple disabilities classroom at BMS. “I chose to pursue my National Board certification to further my education and my abilities to provide the best education possible for the students in which I serve,” Zborowski said. “While going through the certification process, we are pushed and challenged to think in ways that increase our overall understanding of our students and instructional practices. It was exhilarating to be able to take a deeper look at my instructional decisions and improve them for the success of each student.”
Jana Bryant, who serves as the DCPS district math instructional coach and is herself a NBCT teacher in the area of mathematics, said students benefit from the instruction of teachers who have demonstrated the commitment to excel in their profession. “Research has proven the value of Board certification on student learning, and the impact is even greater for minority and low-income students. National Board certification is the highest professional distinction available in education, with benefits that extend far beyond the classroom, reaching into the entire community as the quality of teaching and learning is advanced.”
In the state of Kentucky, NBCT certification is one pathway to a Rank I professional certificate.
For more information about National Board for Professional Teaching Standards and NBCT certification, visit http://www.nbpts.org/national- board-certification/