CTU, CPS celebrate National Board Certified Teachers
532 CPS educators earn or renew prestigious teaching credential during height of the pandemic
Mayor Brandon Johnson joined CTU President Stacy Davis Gates, and CPS CEO Pedro Martinez, to celebrate the 532 Chicago educators who earned or renewed their National Board Certification since 2019. The celebration was the first since the pandemic shut down in-person school and gatherings in March 2020.
Mayor Johnson applauded the NBCTs, acknowledging the importance of having highly-trained educators in our classrooms. He honored those in attendance for their dedication to excellence and acknowledged the hundreds of hours they put into their Certification process, having seen colleagues create binders upon binders, and portfolios of their work to submit to the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. Johnson made it clear, however, that their work was not yet complete
“Teachers, when we get it right, it can change lives,” he said. “But until we make sure people have a job, a home, a place for students to rest their heads, our work will be incomplete.”
CTU President Stacy Davis Gates acknowledged the tremendous achievement of the recent NBCTs
“If you can make it through the National Board Certification program and put a fifth-grade teacher on the fifth floor of City Hall, you can do anything,” she said. “But our fight forward is more than just one about changing the leadership in city hall, it is also about ensuring that our students have the most highly accomplished teachers and counselors.
I am so proud of all the teachers, counselors and librarians who achieved National Board Certification over the last four years. The NBC process is rigorous and challenging during the best of times. But these educators completed the certification during a once-in-a-100 year global pandemic. I am inspired by their resilience,” CTU President Stacy Davis Gates said. “Today, we are celebrating these educators for their personal and professional achievements because every metric related to student learning and well-being is improved by having a National Board Certified Teacher (NBCT) in the classroom. Our students deserve high-quality classrooms where equity and justice abound; NBCTs are part of making that a reality. Over the past four years, 41 percent of Chicago’s new NBCTs are teachers of color–and the most recent cohort boasts almost 45 percent teachers of color. I applaud all our NBCTs who undertook this grueling process to refine their practice, to examine and reflect on their pedagogy and to work with colleagues to achieve this distinction.”
The celebration took place at the end May at Amundsen High School. Educators, school leaders and families joined in the celebration of educator excellence.
CPS CEO Martinez Honors the Recipients
“Our students are incredibly lucky to have this highly-talented and diverse group of educators in their classrooms every day,” CEO Martinez said. “Great educators like the ones we honored tonight make a world of difference in our students’ lives and their success both in and outside the school walls. I am incredibly grateful to our new NBCT educators for their relentless pursuit of educational excellence and their dedication and commitment to our students.”
A CTU/CPS partnership helps nurture and mentor NBCTs. This year, 49 teachers, counselors and librarians earned the prestigious certification and an additional 103 renewed it. More than 532 individuals earned or renewed their NBCT certification since 2019.
This year marks the 27th anniversary of the Nurturing Teacher Leadership , a labor/management program that enables CPS teachers, librarians, and counselors to earn National Board Certification. Since 1997, CPS and CTU have produced more than 2400 NBCTs, the third highest number of NBCTs of any district in the nation. Each of these accomplished teachers earned or maintained the profession’s highest mark of achievement through a rigorous, performance based, peer-review process, demonstrating their proven impact on teacher quality and student learning and achievement.
Two new NBCTs represent their fellow NBC Achievers
Gladys Joy de Guzman, a pre-k educator of more than 10 years, earned her certification through the CTU Nurturing Teacher Leadership (NTL) program. The program connected de Guzman with like-minded educators who were committed to rigorous, effective and inclusive instructional practices and who also valued her experiences as an immigrant and former bilingual student.
“Making sure our children have a safe, fair, equitable and affirming learning environment is what motivates me as an educator,” de Guzman said. “I would encourage any educator who loves working with children, who believes in the promise of public education and whose goal is to positively transform student learning outcomes in CPS to take advantage of this great program.”
William Weaver, a social studies teacher at Kenwood Academy High School with more than 10 years classroom experience, earned National Board Certification in 2020 also through the CTU NTL program.
“Achieving my NBCT has been one of the biggest feats of my educational career,” Weaver told the audience assembled for the celebration. “Thankfully, I didn’t have to do it alone. With the support of my family, NBCT mentors, colleagues and students, I was able to distinguish myself as an educator and build confidence that has solidified my place in this profession as an accomplished educator, mentor and coach and improved students’ learning.”
National Board Certification is a rigorous, voluntary certification program for educators to develop and enhance their teaching practice and ultimately improve student learning that is developed by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.
Research shows school districts that have a high number of NBCTs positively impact student performance and lead to an increase in collaboration among teachers. Currently, every CPS network boasts at least one NBCT, 346 schools have at least one NBCT on staff, of which 249 are Title 1 schools.
President of NBPTS addresses the Honorees
Peggy Brookins, NBCT, and President of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, keynoted the celebration event. She began by thanking the new and newly renewed NBCTs for their dedication, perseverance, and commitment to accelerating the learning of all students. “And thank you to the support system of mentors, administrators, networks and champions that provided guidance, resources, and encouragement along the way. I would like to recognize the significant support system here in Chicago. Nurturing Teacher Leadership is a long-standing program that boasts a success rate of 94%, offering professional development and candidate support for 2 years free of charge to CTU members.” Brookins went on to address the NBCTs, “NBCTs, today isn’t the end of your journey. Nelson Mandela said, ‘Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.’ Your National Board Certification is a tool to leverage for systemic change.”
ISBE Superintendent recognizes the new and newly renewed NBCTs
“We are strong believers in National Board Certification and have been supporting teachers’ efforts to grow professionally through this rigorous process for more than two decades,” State Superintendent of Education Dr. Tony Sanders said. “The expertise teachers acquire through National Board Certification elevates all the educators around them. It’s an investment that pays dividends for our schools, our students, and our communities. Congratulations and thank you to all the teachers who have earned this prestigious distinction. I look forward to seeing how you contribute to the continuing evolution of the teaching profession for many years to come.”
Also, highlighting the event were IFT President Dan Montgomery, CPS CEdO Bogdana Chkoumbova, CPS Network 14 Chief of Schools and NBCT Laura Lemone, Amundsen Principal Kristie Eilers, and Manager of the CTU/CPS National Board Certification Initiative, Lynn Cherkasky-Davis.
The CTU’s Nurturing Teacher Leadership program recruits and supports CPS candidates for National Board Certification. For more information about the program, visit the CTU Quest Center.