Seventeen More Teachers Nationally Certified

Seventeen more teachers in the Long Beach Unified School District have earned the highest professional distinction in teaching, National Board Certification. The newest certifications bring the total number of nationally certified teachers in the school district to 76. The rigorous certification is an exhaustive year-long process that involves writing extensive portfolios, videotaping classroom instruction and answering four 90-minute essay questions during a June exam. Fewer than 1 percent of the nation’s 3 million teachers – or about 16,000 – earn the certification each year. New National Board Certified teachers include Heather Evans, MacArthur; Cindy Galloway, Stanford; Susan Garcia, Powell; Arlena Gilmore, Webster; Cara Hanes, Poly; Nicole Jackson, Tucker; Nina Jackson, Franklin; Bonnie Jones, Cabrillo; Pamela Jones, MacArthur; Julianne Kendall, Whittier; James Laub, Franklin; Paula Libby, Cabrillo; Catherine Lunniss, Stanford; Rita Marks, Poly; Anita Rockwell, Avalon; Robert Rockwell, Avalon; and Vanessa Uy, Burbank. The latest group of nationally certified teachers includes a husband and wife team from Avalon, Robert and Anita Rockwell. The two supported each other throughout the lengthy process. "We could cry on each other’s shoulders and read each other’s papers," said Robert Rockwell, a high school science teacher. "It was nice because we understood what each other was going through. The process really makes you inspect what you do, how you do it and why you do it." Rockwell and his wife are the second husband-wife team in the school district to earn national certification. Kerrill Kephart and husband Don earned national certification while teaching at Poly in 2001. The school district has made a commitment to support teachers who are interested in applying for National Board Certification. Teachers who are accepted and successfully complete the pre-candidacy program are eligible for district payment of National Board application fees, a $2,300 savings. "The pre-candidacy program really prepared us," Rockwell said. "It helped to answer a lot of questions. I would not have wanted to go into this cold. I’m glad the school district did that for us." Teachers who obtain National Board Certification receive 5 percent salary increases and, should they choose to serve as mentor teachers, receive additional 5 percent salary increases. California also rewards its nationally certified instructors with $20,000 over four years if they teach at high-need schools. A national credential is not required like a state credential, but to be certified by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards is an extremely high distinction. The National Board is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, nongovernmental agency created to establish rigorous standards for what accomplished teachers should know and be able to do. It is a voluntary system to assess and certify teachers who meet high standards, and it advances education reforms to improve student learning. The board was created in 1987 by a team of teachers, policymakers, academics and corporate leaders.