Teaching’s Highest Accomplishment — What it Means for the Classroom

Even before Andrea Lewis completed the months-long process to attain the teaching profession’s highest accomplishment — National Board Certification — the impact was clear: her students were more engaged, they were learning more and learning in new ways. And, they were having fun.

Lewis, a kindergarten teacher at John Adams Elementary School, is one of ten educators who recently earned National Board Certification for the first time with an additional eight renewing their certification. Through the process, they learned how to be more effective in the classroom and how to help students succeed. This year’s cohort represents the largest group to complete the certification and recertification process in a single school year. ACPS now boasts 84 National Board Certified teachers and counselors.

What does having National Board Certified teachers in the classroom mean for your child?

In Lewis’ classroom, it means teaching and learning that is centered around her students. She puts students in situations where they can discover, create and be the ones to ask the questions — and then she observes and listens.

To teach kindergarten students about how some things sink and others float, she placed a tub of water at the center of a table alongside piles of plastic toys, blocks and other objects, and then she stepped back and watched. As the students dropped the objects into the water, she fed off their energy and curiosity. She let them show her what they knew and then filled in the gaps. In her classroom, their questions lead her teaching and what emerges is a genuine curiosity, a pressing need to share and an environment that breeds a love of learning.

Better teaching practices means more effective teachers and better outcomes for students. Students of Board-certified teachers learn more than their peers without Board-certified teachers and the positive impact is even greater for minority and low-income students*. As part of its commitment to ensuring a highly effective teacher in every classroom, ACPS pays the certification fees and provides ongoing support through a mentoring cohort for teachers who choose to pursue National Board Certification.

Lewis was inspired to pursue certification after seeing the level of student engagement and enthusiasm in the classroom of a fellow teacher who was National Board Certified. Now she recommends it to every teacher she knows.

It’s not just the students in the classroom of a National Board Certified teacher who benefit. Teachers work in teams. We collaborate extensively and we share what we learn to help improve student achievement. It’s contagious — everyone benefits,” said Lewis.

Congratulations to the following educators who have earned their National Board Certification:

  • Kathleen Brewster, T.C. Williams High School
  • Kristin Donley, Mount Vernon Community School
  • Gabriel Elias, T.C. Williams High School International Academy
  • Vernise Ferrer, Samuel W. Tucker Elementary School
  • Andrea Lewis, John Adams Elementary School
  • Jared Peet, T.C. Williams High School
  • Sally Preston, T.C. Williams High School
  • Clark Richardson, Ferdinand T. Day Elementary School
  • Sean Lowe, T.C. Williams High School
  • Tracy Tiernan, Mount Vernon Community School

Congratulations to the following teachers who renewed their National Board Certification for an additional ten years:

  • Meredith Fortner, John Adams Elementary School
  • Tina Jobkar, Samuel W. Tucker Elementary School
  • Sarah Kiyak, T.C. Williams High School
  • Catherine Medina-Devilliers, T.C. Williams High School
  • Marie Peaches, James K. Polk Elementary School
  • Jane Richardson, Early Childhood Special Education Coordinator
  • Brenda Tarquinio, John Adams Elementary School
  • Martha Walsh, Charles Barrett Elementary School and Cora Kelly School for Math, Science and Technology

The Alexandria City School Board will recognize all at a reception on March 7.

*According to research compiled by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards

ACPS, Alexandria City High School, Charles Barrett, Cora Kelly, Ferdinand Day, Highlights, Highlights 2018-19, International Academy, John Adams, Mount Vernon, Polk, Tucker