Five FSSD Teachers Receive National Board Certification

The Franklin Special School District is proud to announce that five more teachers have achieved Certification by the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards. This brings the number of teachers who have gone through the national certification process through the FSSD district to 35 since 2001. Of that number, 23 continue to hold the certification and are still in the district.

This year’s class of National Board Certified teachers from FSSD includes:

  • Patrick Bourn – Franklin Elementary School, music
  • Deborah Higdon – Franklin Elementary School, special education
  • Karen Hummer – Franklin Elementary School, 1st grade
  • Melissa Miller – Franklin Elementary School, 1st grade
  • Drew Wilkerson – Johnson Elementary School, 1st grade
picture of teachers Patrick Bourn, Debbie Higdon, Karen Hummer, and Melissa Miller standing in the hall at Franklin Elementary School.

Patrick Bourn, Debbie Higdon, Karen Hummer, and Melissa Miller, all of Franklin Elementary School.

National certification is a rigorous self-evaluation process. This certification recognizes that a teacher has been judged by peers as one who is accomplished, makes sound professional judgments about student learning, and acts effectively on those judgments. It is a symbol of teaching excellence. Although voluntary, it is achieved through a performance-based assessment that takes nearly a year to complete.

The FSSD Board of Education holds national certification in such high regard that it reimburses the candidate almost two-thirds of the total cost of the three-year program. In addition, the FSSD rewards a successfully certified teacher with a $4,000 annual supplement for the 5-year period of certification, which may be extended if the teacher completes a renewal process. In return, the students reap the benefits of a stronger, more reflective teacher focused on student engagement.  

Another support provided to FSSD teachers who choose to participate in the rigorous process of national certification is local support, headed by Human Resources Supervisor Dr. Roberta Hill and Associate Director for Teaching and Learning Dr. Catherine Stephens. These administrators support candidates who wish to be guided along the evaluation process with professional development and one-on-one mentoring. Candidates also receive guidance from their peers in the district who are already certified.  “Supporting educators in the pursuit of this gold standard of National Board Certification is one of the many privileges we have in the district,” Stephens said. “Observing these educators think deeply about their craft, demonstrate highly skilled instruction and focus on advancing student thinking, reasoning and learning is highly rewarding.”

picture of Drew Wilkerson.

Drew Wilkerson of Johnson Elementary School.

The FSSD rewards its teachers for pursuing and achieving this certification because the district’s mission of “Excellence in Teaching and Learning for All” sets a standard that will place the best and most qualified teachers in the classrooms. “We are committed to supporting this valuable work as we recognize the powerful impact it has on the individual teacher pursuing this certification as well as the direct benefit it has on our students,” Stephens said. She noted that the teacher’s professional reflection and commitment to improving instructional practice can lift an entire grade level or subject area in a school as it tends to cause others to open their minds to professional reflection as well.

Tennessee Education Commissioner Candice McQueen celebrated the 20 Tennessee educators who have been designated as National Board Certified Teachers. “We know that teachers are the biggest factor in the success of our students, and it is an honor to celebrate educators who are helping their students grow, while serving as an example of what it means to be a lifelong learner,” McQueen said. “National Board Certified Teachers are highly accomplished educators with a proven track-record of success, and we are proud to have 20 more NBCT educators in Tennessee meet these high and rigorous standards.”

The five FSSD recipients will be “pinned” at the February 12, 2018, FSSD Board of Education meeting by fellow National Board Certified teachers.