Washington Tops Nation in New Board-Certified Teachers

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Randy I. Dorn

Washington Tops Nation in New Board-Certified Teachers

OLYMPIA — December 4, 2015 — Washington has the largest group of new National Board Certified Teachers (NBCTs) for the third consecutive year, according to numbers released today by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.

A total of 329 Washington teachers achieved their certification this year. Washington ranks fourth, nationwide, in the total number of NBCTs (8,614)*.

“The National Board certification process is not easy,” said Randy Dorn, superintendent of public instruction. “It takes content knowledge and commitment to student learning. I’m proud of the work these teachers have done for their students and their profession.”

Washington by the numbers

  • Number of new NBCTs in 2015: 329 (national rank: 1st)
  • Total number of NBCTs: 8,614 (national rank: 4th)
  • Washington has two of the top 30 school districts in the nation for the total number of NBCTs.
  • 38% (126) of new NBCTs teach in “challenging schools.”
  • 14% (8,614) of teachers are NBCTs.
  • 33% (107) of new NBCTs teach in STEM fields

Across the country, fewer teachers were certified this year because the National Board started transitioning to a new certification process in 2014. Because it can take up to three years to earn certification, the NBCTs announced this year have been using the process in place prior to 2014. The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards is making changes to the process to remove barriers to earning certification that have nothing to do with whether a teacher is accomplished.

Washington’s investment in the National Board program is critical to its success. The state’s conditional loan program helps candidates pay for the cost of certification. Loans are repaid using the bonuses teachers earn after becoming certified. Nearly half of these new NBCTs participated in the loan program and will pay back more than $320,000 into the revolving fund so that money can be made available to new candidates.

A joint effort led by the Office of the Governor, the Washington Education Association, the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction and the Center for Strengthening the Teaching Profession, as well as to broad bipartisan support in the state Legislature, has led to a rapid increase in NBCTs in Washington.

Gov. Jay Inslee acknowledged the dedication of the new NBCTs. “Congratulations to the 329 Washington teachers who earned their national board certification, one of the best-known gold standards in the teaching profession. These teachers have shown true dedication to their students and their profession, and I commend their ongoing commitment to helping our students excel.”

Top 9 school districts in Washington with new NBCTs:

  1. Seattle+ (23)
  2. Kent (18)
  3. Evergreen – Clark (17)
  4. Federal Way (16)
  5. North Thurston (11)
  6. Pasco (11)
  7. Spokane (11)
  8. Tacoma (11)
  9. Clover Park (10)

+ Seattle Public Schools ranks nationally in the top 30 districts by total number of NBCTs.

“Congratulations to the Washington Education Association members who have earned their National Board Certification this year,” said Kim Mead, president of the Washington Education Association. “Our union supports high standards at every level, and we commend these teachers for their leadership, hard work and commitment to their students.”

Board certification by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards requires teachers to submit a four-part portfolio and a six-exercise content and pedagogy assessment. The 10 entries document a teacher’s success in the classroom as evidenced by his or her students’ learning. The portfolio is then assessed by a national panel of peers.

“Even while the National Board has rolled out a new certification process over the past three years, this hasn’t stalled Washington teachers from pursuing National Board Certification and attaining it,” said Nasue Nishida, executive director at the Center for Strengthening the Teaching Profession. “We are fortunate and very proud to have a teaching profession in our state that continues to strive toward excellence to ensure every student in our public education system experiences accomplished teaching.”

In 2007, the state Legislature passed a bill that awards a $5,000 bonus to each NBCT. Teachers can receive up to an additional $5,000 bonus if they teach in “challenging” schools, which are defined as having a certain percentage of students qualify for free and reduced-price lunch (50 percent for high schools, 60 percent for middle schools and 70 percent for elementary schools).

For more information

* This number varies slightly from the number reported by the Board. The Board relies on teachers to self-report and maintain their contact information. Some teachers choose not to share that information. OSPI relies on a combination S-275 personnel data and Board data, and the combination is considered to be more accurate.


Kristen Jaudon
OSPI Communications Specialist

Rich Wood
WEA Communications Organizer

Nasue Nishida
CSTP Executive Director

About OSPI

The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) is the primary agency charged with overseeing K–12 education in Washington state. Led by State Superintendent Randy Dorn, OSPI works with the state's 295 school districts and nine educational service districts to administer basic education programs and implement education reform on behalf of more than one million public school students.

OSPI provides equal access to all programs and services without discrimination based on sex, race, creed, religion, color, national origin, age, honorably discharged veteran or military status, sexual orientation, gender expression or identity, the presence of any sensory, mental, or physical disability, or the use of a trained dog guide or service animal by a person with a disability.

Questions and complaints of alleged discrimination should be directed to the Equity and Civil Rights Director at 360-725-6162 or P.O. Box 47200, Olympia, WA 98504-7200.