Watervliet and other local teachers achieve National Board Certification
Dec. 20, 2011
The Watervliet High School Media Center was
the scene of a ceremony recognizing 165 teachers across the state who
earned National Board Certification this year—three Watervliet educators
New York State Commissioner of Education Dr. John B. King Jr. and Maria Neira, vice president of New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) joined together to honor approximately 25 area teachers who represent this year’s class of National Board Certified Teachers. Watervliet Jr.-Sr. 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, a voluntary credentialing process widely considered to be the "gold standard" for teaching excellence.
Dr. King told the teachers in attendance that as a former middle school principal, he was aware of the amount of time and effort teachers pursuing National Board Certification must devote to the process.
“I envy the students who get to spend time in your classrooms. You represent the best teachers in the state,” Commissioner King said. “You have shown a commitment to be leaders in the field of education and your colleagues and students will benefit from it.”
NYSUT Vice President Maria Neira is a member of the National Board for Profession Teaching Standards (NBPTS), the organization that sets and maintains the standards for teaching excellence. “Through the National Board Certification process, these teachers voluntarily measure themselves against the gold standard,” Neira said. “They take ownership of their profession by continually learning and analyzing their work, which ultimately makes them better practitioners.”
Elementary teacher Michaeleen Backus agreed. “The National Board Certification process has made me look at what I’m teaching in the classroom and how I’m teaching it.”
Special education teacher Todd Birmingham thanked Watervliet’s administrators for their support throughout the process. “National Board Certification gives teachers the chance to self reflect on our practices,” he said. “We learn and grow during the process, and that helps us get the best from our students.”