Watervliet educators achieve national gold standard credentials
Dec. 14, 2011
Three Watervliet City School District
teachers have achieved National Board Certification – a voluntary
credentialing process widely considered to be the "gold standard" for
Junior-senior high school English teacher Megan Cahill, special education teacher Todd Birmingham and second grade teacher Michaeleen Backus are the first Watervliet teachers to achieve National Board Certification.
State Education Commissioner John King will visit Watervliet to congratulate the teachers on Tuesday, Dec. 20 at 11 a.m. in the junior-senior high school media center.
“The process to achieve this advanced certification is extremely rigorous. It’s a tremendous amount of hard work and we are very proud of our teachers,” Watervliet High School Principal, and soon-to-be superintendent of schools, Dr. Lori S. Caplan said. “It’s also interesting to note that two of these teachers are Watervliet graduates who returned to the area after college and are now assets to this community.”
To achieve National Board Certification, teachers must demonstrate advanced teaching knowledge, skills and practices. Typically a three-year process, the Watervliet teachers completed the certification in two years. The process involves the submission of four portfolio entries and a six part exam.
Mr. Birmingham is in his eleventh year teaching at the junior-senior high school. After graduating Watervliet High School in 1992, Mr. Birmingham obtained a Bachelor of Science degree from Ithaca College and a Master of Education degree from Sage College. Mr. Birmingham is a former standout basketball player and coach, and was inducted into the Watervliet Athletic Hall of Fame this fall.
Ms. Cahill has been a teacher in the district for three years. Prior to Watervliet, she taught at the Bushwick Leaders' High School in Brooklyn for four years. Before that, she was an AmeriCorps volunteer at Emmerich Manuel High School in Indianapolis for two years. She’s been an Odyssey of the Mind coach for seven years and last year started a book club for the Watervliet community. She obtained her bachelors from Siena College and her masters from Queens College.
Ms. Backus began working in the district in 1984 in the superintendent’s and business offices. While working in the business office, she returned to college part-time for her teaching certification. She filled in for a first grade maternity leave in March of 2005, and was hired full time to teach first grade in September of that year. Ms. Backus taught first grade for three years before becoming a literacy coach at Watervliet Elementary School. However, she missed being a classroom teacher, and in 2010, returned to teach second grade. Ms. Backus is also a graduate of Watervliet High School and alumna of The College of Saint Rose.