Six teachers earn National Board Certification

Chad Coleman/Mercer Island Reporter Mercer Island School District music teacher Angela Carey, who just earned National Board Teacher Certification, directs her students at Lakeridge. -
Chad Coleman/Mercer Island Reporter Mercer Island School District music teacher Angela Carey, who just earned National Board Teacher Certification, directs her students at Lakeridge.
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Lakeridge Elementary music teacher Angela Carey may sing and dance with her students every day, but just before Winter Break she really had something to celebrate: she and five other Mercer Island School District teachers received word they’d earned their National Board Certification.

“It’s kind of unreal,” Carey said, adding that she was elated when she heard the news. “I called my husband and then walked down to the staff room and screamed and hugged people.”

The certification, an intensive process requiring portfolios and assessments, carries with it prestige and an annual $3,500 bonus from the state Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Those receiving certification this year include: Lori Brennan deStwolinski, kindergarten, Lakeridge Elementary School; Joanna Franklin, first grade, Lakeridge Elementary School; Brody LaRock, language arts/social studies, Crest, Mercer Island High School; Matt McClung, chemistry, Mercer Island High School; Cheryl Sandstrom, third grade, Island Park Elementary School.

Carey said she sought the certification to continue her professional growth.

“This year is my seventh year teaching, and I didn’t want to plateau,” she said. “I wanted to improve my teaching. It (the process) definitely showed me where I needed to improve.”

Carey and McClung said the certification has mostly made them more thoughtful teachers.

“It’s made me reflect a lot more critically upon my teaching,” McClung said. “I just spend a lot more time reflecting on lessons and how they impacted student learning.”

McClung said he celebrated by jumping up and down on his bed when he found out he’d been certified.

Principal Ralph Allen said he was ecstatic for his teachers.

“I think it’s the intellectual rigor of having to think deeply about your teaching,” Allen said. “Really being reflective about what you do.”

The teachers have been waiting since last spring to find out whether their portfolios and assessments qualified them for the certification.

“It is truly an intense and very challenging accomplishment,” said Superintendent Cyndy Simms. “These teachers have taken the time and really delved deeply into their personal practice as teachers, which makes them stronger in their teaching practice with students, and that of course transfers to the work they do with their students every day.”

The teachers describe the process as intense and challenging. To earn certification, they turn in four different portfolios, take tests, and learn about standards of excellence.

“It kind of proves something to myself, that I can become the teacher they describe in the standards,” Carey said. “And I’ve shown other people I can do that, become what they call ‘an accomplished teacher.’”

Other National Board Certified teachers in the Mercer Island School District include Jamie Prescott, English, MIHS, David Giles, English, MIHS (on leave), Monica Phillips, 8th grade, IMS, and Michael Schiehser, Biology, Associate Principal, MIHS.

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