May 08, 2007

Celebrating teaching’s gold standard

Source:  New York Teacher
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Caption: From left, NYSUT Vice President Maria Neira; newly National Board Certified English teacher Michael Pipa, Guilderland CTA; Johanna Duncan-Poitier, State Education Department deputy commissioner; and Mary Lou Armiger of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. The NBPTS grants the national credential.

Honoring those educators who "chose the title of excellence," the Greater Capital Region Teacher Center and NYSUT's Capital District Regional Office hosted a celebration and tribute for the area's National Board Certified Teachers.

We are here to celebrate your hard work," NYSUT Vice President Maria Neira said. "The National Board Certification credential validates not only your knowledge and skills but also your personal commitment to professional growth and excellence."

More educators are choosing to take on the challenge of national certification, and more districts are recognizing the process, Neira said. In seven years, the number of board-certified teachers in the Capital Region has grown from two to 165.

Attending the celebration were board-certified educators, administrators and professionals who study the impact board-certified teachers have in the classroom.

"It's a life-changing experience," said Judy Moffit, a member of the South Glens Falls Faculty Association. Since completing the process, Moffit serves as a mentor and co-facilitator of a North Country candidate support group.

State support is a major incentive for many candidates, like Anna Liu-Gorman, a member of the Cambridge FA. "If it wasn't for the Shanker grant I don't know if I would have done this," she said.

In 1999, NYSUT's advocacy resulted in the law creating state-funded Albert Shanker Grant and Candidate Subsidy Fee programs.

Support from other teachers was also key. "I do a lot of reflecting now and looking at the curriculum as well as collaborating," Liu-Gorman said. As a special area teacher — she received her national credential in elementary art — she wasn't always focused on collaboration. Now she tries to integrate her projects with what students are already doing in class.

For more on National Board Certification, including support and resources available through NYSUT, visit

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