National Board Certification
January 14, 2015

NYSUT salutes teachers for reaching 'gold standard'

Source: NYSUT Media Relations
national board certification
Caption: NYSUT Vice President Catalina R. Fortino pins award winner Kathleen Kurgan at a NYSUT celebration of new National Board Certified Teachersat the Martin Luther King , Jr. School in Syracuse, N.Y. Kurgan teaches at the Roberts K-8 School. Looking on, left to right: Syracuse City School District Superintendent Sharon Contreras; Syracuse Teachers Association President Kevin Ahern; and Laurie F. Holtsbery of Salem Hyde Elementary School. Photo by Michael J. Okoniewski.

SYRACUSE, N.Y. Jan. 14, 2015 - New York State United Teachers today celebrated the accomplishments of 104 teachers, including more than a dozen from Central New York, who voluntarily strived for and achieved the "gold standard" of the teaching profession - certification by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.

The educators were recognized during a news conference this morning at Dr. King Elementary School in Syracuse. Joining NYSUT leaders to honor these highly accomplished teachers were Syracuse Teachers Association President Kevin Ahern and City Schools Superintendent Sharon Contreras.

"The 104 teachers who successfully earned national certification this year - and the 1,713 New York teachers who currently hold this credential - are standard-bearers for the profession and ambassadors for all the terrific teachers in this state," said NYSUT President Karen E. Magee. "National Board Certified Teachers take on leadership roles and challenge themselves to prove they are among the 'best of the best.' NYSUT applauds them."

NYSUT Vice President Catalina Fortino said that teachers who seek National Board Certification understand that professional learning is an ongoing process in which teachers constantly refine and strengthen their classroom practice. She emphasized that, while New York has a highly educated, highly skilled teaching force, many teachers choose to undertake the voluntary certification process as a way of learning more about their own "art of teaching."

"Nationally certified teachers - past, present and future - are leaders in their own profession. They undertake a challenging and rewarding journey into their own teaching practice," Fortino said. "At the end of this journey, nationally certified teachers are able to analyze the complexities of teaching and learning in their classrooms and design instruction that serves their students and school communities."

Contreras said: "Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. captured the essence of what great teachers do each day when he said: 'The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character - that is the goal of true education.'  We are so proud of the Syracuse City School District teachers who have earned National Board Certification. These individuals are leaders in our profession and truly understand the privilege that educators have each and every day to prepare our young people to be leaders in our communities."

national board certificationFortino said school districts are seeing the value of investing in their teachers by supporting National Board Certification, adding "we are beginning to see clusters of nationally certified teachers here in Central New York and across the state."

"National certification helps promote ongoing, meaningful professional learning by teachers, and we
know that teachers and students benefit greatly from this program," said Fortino. "The nationally certified teachers who make up this year's class have proven they are exemplary and NYSUT celebrates their accomplishments."

"These teachers," added Ahern, "have demonstrated their commitment to their profession and their students by examining and developing their practice at the highest level. They are an inspiration to all of us."

For a complete list of National Board Certified Teachers from New York state, go to

About the NBPTS Process

National Board candidates typically spend 200-400 hours of their own time having their teaching assessed against high and rigorous standards through an extensive series of performance-based assessments. These assessments include teaching portfolios, student work samples, videotapes and thorough analyses and reflection of the candidate's teaching and student learning. The process involves written exercises that probe the depth of the candidate's subject area knowledge as well as their understanding of how to teach those subjects.

New York State United Teachers is a statewide union with more than 600,000 members in education, human services and health care. NYSUT is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association and the AFL-CIO.

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