By Jillian McCartney, Salisbury Post
There are 25 smiling faces among local teachers after the announcement of the 2002 National Board Professional Teaching Certification.
Of the 5,886 certified teachers nationally this year, 1,475 -- 19 percent -- were from North Carolina schools. There are a total of 5,111 North Carolina teachers now certified and 23,930 nationally. This gives the state 21.4 percent of all certified teachers.
The Rowan-Salisbury School System had 19 teachers certified this year, while Kannapolis City Schools had six.
National Board Certification is the highest professional credential in the field of teaching. It is a voluntary, but rigorous, process that takes nearly a year to complete.
Teachers must document knowledge of their subject matter, provide evidence that they know how to teach their subjects effectively to students and show their ability to manage and measure student learning.
North Rowan Principal Bill Mauldin described the process as one that is very extensive, where the teachers must "really look into themselves" to evaluate their own teaching. "I think it's the most rewarding part."
North Rowan math teacher Anne Briggs received her certification in 1997 and remembers how organizing the materials was the most difficult part. Briggs said teachers must put together their presentation in a very specific way.
Hurley Principal Dr. Bonita Bloodworth termed the process "intense" and said, "It's a lot of information crammed into a short period of time."
Bloodworth said her two teachers who earned certification this year -- Cynthia Amerson and Nina Pope -- have offered to assist their peers through the process in the future.
Pope said she truly didn't think she would pass, after hearing officials changed the criteria this year. "You just don't know exactly what they want. You just have to do the best you can."
From November 2001 until April, Pope worked on her portfolio each week night and all weekend. "There were several weekends I didn't take off my pajamas but to take a shower."
And on top of the preparation, a classroom full of children still waits for these teachers. "You still have to go in and do your job everyday."
Pope is thankful for the family support she received. "You need that concentration, and you need that family support."
Amerson said her four daughters -- ages 9, 12, 15 and 17 -- and her husband, Allen, were supportive. Her husband did all house work, and her two oldest daughters did their own laundry. "If it hadn't been for everybody pitching in, I never could have done it," Amerson said. "It's just a whole lot, and I think you have to depend on the people around you."
Amerson said the process made her look at herself as a teacher to help identify her strengths and weaknesses.
Teachers who earn the certification also receive a 12 percent bonus on top of their salary. The certification lasts 10 years before it has to be renewed.
Pope said it is very important for teachers considering trying for their certification to understand that if they begin and do not complete the portfolio, they owe the state $2,300.
The Rowan-Salisbury 2002 National Board Professional Teaching Certified teachers are:
* Cynthia Amerson, Hurley Elementary, third grade
* Wanda Barringer Kluttz, Woodleaf Elementary, AIG
* Sherry Beck Elvington, Knox Middle, eighth grade social studies
* Donna Blackwell, Knollwood Elementary, kindergarten
* Jennifer Buckner, West Rowan High, English
* Susan Creasy Ogle, Corriher-Lipe Middle, sixth grade language arts AIG
* David Crews, North Rowan High, English
* Elizabeth Adair Doran, Salisbury High, social studies
* Sonya Ferguson, Erwin Middle, band
* Andrea Fulghum, South Rowan High. media specialist
* Melissa Karriker Powers, Erwin Middle, seventh grade language arts AIG
* Becky Lipe Morris, China Grove Middle, music
* Talitha Lowman, Southeast Middle, eighth grade math
* Mary Ann Martinelli, West Rowan High, physical education
* Sara Phillips, Corriher-Lipe Middle, health/physical education
* Nina Pope, Hurley Elementary, third grade
* Martha Shelton Smith, Knollwood Elementary, music
* Ginger Williams Smith, Faith Elementary, media specialist
* Amy Winebarger Pickler, Southeast Middle, eighth grade math
No longer with Rowan-Salisbury Schools:
* Lora Davis Green, was at Knox Middle, sixth grade language arts.
* Kellee Dillard, was at Overton Elementary, third grade.
"We are extremely proud of these outstanding teachers," said Kannapolis City Schools Superintendent Dr. Jo Anne Byerly.
"We strongly encourage our teachers to seek National Board Certification because we know it's a wonderful learning process as well as a rigorous measure of teaching excellence.
Byerly said one of the best ways to improve student success is to have excellent teachers in the classroom and that this program helps do that.
"We're proud that every one of our schools has at least two nationally board certified teachers on its staff."
The Kannapolis City Schools teachers who achieved national certification this year are:
* Angela Beck, Shady Brook Elementary, exceptional children.
* Nancy Bell, Kannapolis Middle School, art.
* Michael Fisher, Kannapolis Middle School, sixth-grade.
* Mary Beth Jung, Kannapolis Middle School sixth-grade language arts
* Hannah Laukaitis, A.L. Brown High School, business education.
* Rebecca Thompson, A.L. Brown High School, English.
Scott Jenkins contributed to this article. Contact Jillian McCartney at 704-797-a4253 or firstname.lastname@example.org.