Feb 28, 2014 - By Kelli Ameling, Staff WriterIn 2013, seven teachers made National Board Certification in Fremont County --a process described as "rigorous."
Kristi Jones, a first-grade teacher at Fort Washakie Elementary School, was the first in Fremont County School District 21 to achieve NBC.
Six other teachers from the county achieved the honor as well, including one teacher from Arapahoe and five from Lander schools.
Each teacher joins more than 106,000 teachers nationwide in obtaining NBC.
Lander Valley High School teacher Rachel Giesmann said she was "excited and relieved" to received NBC.
"The National Board Certification process is one of the most valuable and most difficult things I've ever done," Giesmann said. "It was a lot of hard work, so it was such a great feeling to have that hard work rewarded."
Although it was difficult, Giesmann said going through the process was a way for her to reflect on teaching and to look at better ways to serve students.
"The National Board Certification process is all about reflecting about yourself as an educator to look for ways to improve student learning," she said. "The tools of self-reflection that I developed will continue to be a part of how I approach teaching my students going forward."
Lander Middle School teacher Gayla Hammer said she was "relieved and giddy" when she found out she received the certification.
"The process is helping me think about teaching, evaluate the lessons I teach and reflect upon what I do each day to make sure I am providing the best education for my students," Hammer said. "I think the process has inspired me to work harder."
Receiving the certification, Hammer said, let her know she was using effective-teaching practices, while also showing her areas of where improvement was needed.
Lander Middle School teacher Codi Jorgensen said she was "shocked and thrilled" when she found out she received the certification.
"National Board Certification is the highest mark of accomplishment in teaching. It was important for me to prove to myself that I am a good teacher," Jorgensen said. "It is nice to be recognized for all the hard work we put into our classrooms day after day."
Jorgensen said she was told it is a three-year process and only 25 percent of the candidates pass the first year.
Lander Valley High School teacher Joseph Meyer said he was "ecstatic" when he found out he received the certification.
"The NBC process really stretched me as an educator," Meyer said. "It put my teaching practices under the microscope."
Meyer said he found out about the process after his wife earned the certification a couple of years before, and said the process is about whether or not a teacher's experiences and practices represent "accomplished."
"I will continue to do the positive things that have come out of the process, as well as continue to grow in all aspects of being a secondary-mathematics educator," Meyer said. "I was excited about the NBC process opportunity, and the support Wyoming offers for it, and either proving myself worthy of certification, or bettering myself along the way to eventual certification."
Arapahoe School teacher Tricia Muller said receiving NBC was "huge" because she is also the first in her district to receive the certification.
"As an educator, this process helped me to reflect on my own teaching," Muller said. "I am now constantly looking at what I am doing, and what I could do better to help my students."
Muller said she initially started the process to look at her own teaching, and to see where she could improve to help the students.
"When I found out I certified, it was a mixture of emotions," she said. "I started the process with two of my co-workers, neither of them certified their first year, which is not uncommon, so I was very excited I reached this huge accomplishment, but also felt slightly guilty that I passed and that my co-workers did not."
Gannet Peak Elementary School teacher Jenny Schucker said receiving NBC was "bittersweet" for her.
"When scores are released, it is a very emotional time for all that went through the process, and I wanted to be sensitive to that," she said. "I was thrilled at my accomplishment, but many of my friends and colleagues didn't certify this year --I wish we were celebrating together."
Schucker said the process forces teachers to become more aware and sensitive to the individuals in the classroom, and for her, helped her target her instruction to meet the individual and educational needs of the students.
"It was important for me to achieve NBC because it was a step forward in my career," Schucker said. "Becoming an NBC teacher opens a lot of doors, both locally and nationally, for an educator."
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