Kiera Crite Johnson Elementary

Kiera Crite leads a music class at Johnson Elementary School. She has achieved certification by the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards.

Johnson Elementary School music teacher Kiera Crite has achieved certification by the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards, bringing the number of Franklin Special School District teachers who hold a national board certification to 26. 

Crite was recognized during Monday night’s Board of Education meeting. She was ceremoniously "pinned" virtually during a pre-recorded Zoom meeting by fellow National Board Certified teacher and Franklin Elementary music teacher Patrick Bourn. Her principal, Tosha Baugh, and Mary Decker, FSSD associate director of schools for Teaching and Learning, were also part of the virtual ceremony.

National certification is a rigorous process beyond licensure that ensures teachers demonstrate a deep understanding of their students, content knowledge, use of data and assessments and teaching practice. They must also show that they participate in learning communities and provide evidence of ongoing reflection and continuous learning.

It is a symbol of teaching excellence. Although voluntary, it is achieved through a performance-based assessment that can take several years to complete.

Because the FSSD understands the positive impact a teacher with national board certification can have in the classroom, the district pays a significant portion of the submission fee. 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 this arduous process. 

In addition, the FSSD rewards a successfully certified teacher with a $4,000 annual supplement for the five-year period of certification, which may be extended if the teacher completes a challenging 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 process of national certification is local support, headed by Decker and Human Resources Supervisor Leslie Duke. These administrators support candidates who wish to be guided along the evaluation process with professional learning opportunities and additional support. 

Candidates also receive one-to-one mentoring 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,” Decker 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.”

The FSSD rewards its teachers for pursuing and achieving this certification because the district’s vision 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,” Decker said. 

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