Washington public schools rank second in the nation for the most teachers who have earned prestigious National Board Certification through the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.
The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards recently announced 575 Washington teachers earned their National Board Certification in 2012, second only to North Carolina.
In total, 6,817 Washington public school teachers, about 13 percent, have successfully completed the rigorous two-year process for becoming National Board Certified Teachers. Nationally the rate is 3 percent.
Locally, Mabton has eight teachers who have earned the certification, higher than the state average. One of the teachers earned the certification in 2012.
National Board Certified teachers in Mabton are Amy Householder, Randi Krieg, Andrea McCallum, Angelica Ozuna, Judith Simerl, Michael Surmeyer, Lucia Tovar and Darrin Wahl.
Grandview lists 20 teachers as having the certification, one of those having earned it this past year. According to the Grandview School District's superintendent's office, the district offers tuition reimbursement for teachers who complete the process.
National Board Certified teachers in Grandview are Charles Adams, Carol Bardwell, Tamara Brader, Verna Desserault, Gloria Dickie, Elizabeth Jensen, Heather Judkins, Anna Lodahl, Jacqueline Mendoza, Karen Miller, Richard Peaccock, Mark Pendleton, Michelle Ross, Jodi Sabin, Michael Smasne, Jeremy Smith, Jamie Stenberg-Smasne, Talia Stewart, Cynthia Walker and Leslie White.
Sunnyside boasts 17 nationally certified teachers. The district has no particular program to encourage accreditation, but some of the teachers who have earned the certification serve as mentors in the district.
National Board Certified teachers in Sunnyside are Maria Brambila, Laurel Carpino, Angela Carrizales, Gabriel Darbyson, Susan David, Maria Garcia, Paula Greene, Russell Lindstrand, James Marr, Doris Matson, Darren Mezger, Corey Murphy, Billie Parke, Sandra Schilperoort, Pamela Stephens, Meredith Sylling and James Wise.
The state offers some incentives to teachers who complete the program, including an annual state-funded stipend of $5,090. Teachers who work in a challenging school (defined as one in which at least 70 percent of the students receive free or reduced-price lunch) get another $5,000 annually.
The state also offers a conditional loan to teachers who enter the program. The loan allows teachers to delay most of the costs of the certification program and then repay the loan with money from the stipend.
"I've been a strong supporter of the National Board program for years now," said Randy Dorn, state superintendent of public instruction. "All the certified teachers I've talked to said that the process was great. It made them look deeply into their teaching habits. Many of them became better teachers. And that results in better students."
Board certification requires teachers to submit a four-part portfolio and a six-exercise content and pedagogy assessment. The 10 entries document 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 peers.
The state has been focused on improving teacher quality. A new evaluation system for teachers is being finalized this year by the state.
"Whether it's incentive pay for National Board Certified Teachers or funding our state's rigorous new teacher evaluation system, investing in quality teachers is good for our state's students," said Washington Education Association President Mary Lindquist.