Federal Way schools continue to lead way with national board certified teachers

Federal Way Public Schools - Courtesy Federal Way Public Schools
Federal Way Public Schools
— image credit: Courtesy Federal Way Public Schools

Federal Way Public Schools (FWPS) was once again among the top 10 districts in the state for new National Board Certified Teachers (NBCTs), helping Washington state be the top state in the country for new NBCTs.

Eighteen teachers in the district this year gained the difficult professional certification, bringing FWPS total of NBCTs to 175, something that has district administrators very happy.

“I heartily congratulate all those who have achieved National Board certification this year,” said FWPS Superintendent Rob Neu. “The process of preparing for national board certification is rigorous and challenging, and has a positive impact on a teacher’s skills. I’m proud that our district and state supports teachers who are working hard to be the best they can be.”

State Superintendent Randy Dorn, in a press release from the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI), echoed Neu’s sentiments, saying that the teachers themselves say the process helps them become better teachers.

“The National Board certification process is rigorous,” said Dorn. “Many of the teachers I’ve talked to said it has made them better teachers. I fully support their efforts and I congratulate them on this achievement.”

At the state level, Washington took the top spot for newly certified teachers with 516 in 2013. Overall, Washington ranks fourth for total number of NBCTs in the country, with 7,333. According to OSPI’s statistics, 31.6 percent of all “bonus-eligible” NBCTs teach in “challenging schools.” Teachers who teach in a “challenging” school - those schools that have between 50-70 percent of students on free or reduced lunch depending on whether it’s a high school, middle school, or elementary - receive an additional $5,000 bonus on top of an initial $5,000 bonus teachers receive when they gain the certification. Also according to OSPI, 38 out of 39 counties in the state have at least one NBCT.

The board certification process requires teachers to “submit a four-part portfolio and a six-exercise content and pedagogy assessment.” Those submissions are meant to illustrate a “teacher’s success in the classroom as evidenced by his or her students’ learning.” The portfolio is then assessed by a national panel of education peers.

Francine Oishi, the Teaching for Learning Program specialist who coordinates FWPS’ efforts at getting teachers the certification, said the newly-minted NBCTs deserve recognition for the hard work they undertook.

“I commend the newest National Board for Professional Teacher Standards certified teachers in Federal Way Public Schools on earning (the) prestigious designation as NBCTs,” Oishi said. “They have invested in arduous self-reflection and successfully demonstrated the highest level of knowledge, skills and accomplishments in teaching.”

In FWPS, Oishi notes that there are key people throughout the district who help facilitate more and more teachers gaining the difficult certification.

“The heart of the success of the program is the facilitators and the guest NBCTs,” she said. “They are committed to the success of the candidates in their cohorts and invest hours in personalized support.”

Among those who help in this facilitation process are Diane McSweeney, Christine Hroncich and Jolinda Hernandez. The trio hold classes for full candidates once a month, providing “formal instruction about the National Board certification process, orchestrating collaborative work and providing tips for success and feedback on potential portfolio submissions.”

The newly certified teachers are:

Debra Audet, Brigadoon Elementary

Anthony Blake, Federal Way High School (FWHS)

Garret Chan, Lake Grove Elementary

Shannon Houghton, Wildwood Elementary

Julianne Huntsman, Kilo Middle School

Renee King, Valhalla Elementary

Theresa Lee, Kilo Middle School

Ann Modarelli, Brigadoon Elementary

Kimarie Nuez, Green Gables Elementary

Dina Pavlyuk, FWHS

Kristen Pingel, Camelot Elementary

Christian Powers, FWHS

Shannon Rasmussen, Illahee Middle School

Alicia Rogers, Sherwood Forest Elementary

Mary Runions, Star Lake Elementary

Daniel Worcester, Enterprise Elementary

Cary Zeines, Panther Lake Elementary






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