March 2017 Issue
- National Board Certification
March 02, 2017

NYSUT congratulates newest National Board Certified Teachers

Author: By Sylvia Saunders
Source: NYSUT United
Albany PSTA’s Betsey Domenico, an English as a New Language teacher and new National Board Certified Teacher, with one of her students. Photo provided by the City School District of Albany.
Caption: Albany PSTA's Betsey Domenico, an English as a New Language teacher and new National Board Certified Teacher, with one of her students. Photo provided by the City School District of Albany.

Albany teacher Betsey Domenico had a simple answer when asked why she voluntarily dedicated hundreds of hours to pursue National Board Certification.

"I wanted to become a better teacher for my students," she said. "They inspire me every day."

Domenico, an English as a New Language educator at Giffen Elementary School, teaches students from 10 different countries who speak nine different languages. The majority are refugees from Myanmar. They fled from political persecution, and were filtered through refugee camps in Thailand before coming to the United States.

"My students and their families have sacrificed a lot to come to this country in search of a better life," Domenico said. "They are so resilient and work extremely hard. Their hard work inspires me to strive to be the best teacher I can be."

Domenico is one of 21 teachers statewide who earned National Board Certification in 2016, along with an additional 30 educators who successfully recertified.

Created by teachers, for teachers, National Board Certification is the profession's mark of accomplished teaching. It is a voluntary, rigorous, standards-based, peer-reviewed process.

The class of 2016 was smaller than usual because national certification is transitioning from a one-year into a three-year component process. Teachers also have an additional two years to retake components.

Now that the process is more flexible and over more time, candidate numbers are dramatically increasing, said NYSUT Vice President Catalina Fortino. Currently more than 600 candidates in New York State are in the NBCT pipeline.

"Our members are saying the new process is more streamlined and manageable," Fortino said. "You can tackle it component by component, and more districts are recognizing NBC's positive impact in the classroom and the great professional development value."

Due to increased demand, Fortino noted, there's a waiting list for the state's Albert Shanker grant to help educators apply for National Board Certification. The Shanker grant is named in honor of the legendary union leader Albert Shanker, who first proposed National Board Certification. The grant supports a candidate's entire $1,900 fee for all four components — plus provides districts with up to $500 per candidate for supportive services, such as hiring a substitute to cover classes during release time.

Potential candidates should plan to apply for a Shanker grant during the next application period, expected to begin July 1. Both NYSUT and the State Education Department are lobbying for additional Shanker funding in the coming year.

New York currently has 1,790 teachers who have achieved the national credential, according to the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. Nearly 300 districts have locally negotiated incentives, such as salary step increases and stipends to recognize National Board candidates.

For example, Yonkers negotiated doctorate level salary for NBCTs; in Stillwater, any teacher who holds National Board Certification is advanced two steps on the salary schedule.

Achieving National Board Certification can also be used to satisfy the state's new Continuing Teacher and Leader Education (CTLE) requirements. Through NYSUT's Education & Learning Trust and Empire State College, candidates can earn three graduate credits for each completed component, for a total of 12 graduate credits. The cost is a reasonable $300 per component.

Many districts have established in-district support programs as part of their local professional development offerings. NYSUT funds writing retreats throughout the state, and teacher centers offer a variety of support programs. Several NYSUT regional offices are hosting National Board recognition events this winter and spring to celebrate local NBCTs.

For more info
Teachers interested in pursuing National Board Certification can find resources at or


English as a New Language/Early and Middle Childhood

Barbara Parnes
School Counseling/Early Childhood through Young Adulthood

Susanne Miller
English Language Arts/Early Adolescence

Anna Collie
World Languages Other Than English/Early Adolescence through Young Adulthood

Anne Bagot
Social Studies-History/Adolescence and Young Adulthood
Ellen Roehl
Generalist/Early Childhood
Sean Russo
Social Studies-History/Adolescence and Young Adulthood

Jaclyn Carboni-Ruiz
Physical Education/Early and Middle Childhood
Courtney King
Science/Early Adolescence
Lencey Nunez
Science/Early Adolescence
Jose Vilson
Mathematics/Early Adolescence

Jennifer Cline
Generalist/Early Childhood
Sabrina Dolfinger
Exceptional Needs Specialist/Early Childhood through Young Adulthood

Mary Ruth Maguire
Generalist/Middle Childhood

Brooke Castrechini
Generalist/Early Childhood

Amy Gillett
School Counseling/Early Childhood through Young Adulthood

Katherine Farmer
Social Studies-History/Early Adolescence
Lisa Seff
Science/Early Adolescence

Meghan Rilley
Social Studies-History/Adolescence and Young Adulthood

Patricia Fitzgibbon
Exceptional Needs Specialist/Early Childhood through Young Adulthood
Martha Jones
Art/Early and Middle Childhood