Former Gov. Bob Wise congratulates teachers

VIENNA-A former West Virginia governor, now a heavy hitter in educational standards, was in Wood County Wednesday evening to congratulate the latest crop of National Board Certified Teachers.

Former Gov. Bob Wise, chair of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, was the featured speaker Wednesday at the recognition dinner for the county’s 2012 National Board Certified Teachers (NBCT).

Frieda Owen, former assistant superintendent of curriculum for Wood County Schools, was thrilled to have Wise on the 25th anniversary of the national program, while also stressing his role in enhancing the state’s NBCT program.

Owen said Wise, as governor, pushed the state to provide a stipend for educators to pursue their NBCT certification. Wise credited Wood County with leading the way.

Wise said because Wood County’s board of education was already providing a stipend for teachers, he felt the state needed to follow in step.

Board certified teachers receive a $3,500 pay raise from the state and a matching amount from the Wood County Board of Education.

“The stipend was the one thing (administrators, teachers, unions) agreed on,” Wise said.

“I was inspired by Wood County and what they were doing here,” he said. Wise said Wood County has been a longtime leader in the state pushing teachers to pursue NBCT certification. And achieving that certification.

Sixty-one West Virginia teachers earned National Board Certification for 2012. Wood County educators Ernest Wayne Clark, Tracy C. Fauber, Whitny Margaret Gesell, Joanna Theresa Mulligan, Jaime Seltzer and Brenda Lee Twyman earned certification in 2012.

National Board Certification is a voluntary assessment program designed to recognize and reward.

National board certified teachers successfully demonstrate advanced teaching knowledge, skills and practices. Certification is achieved through a rigorous, performance-based assessment that typically takes one to three years to complete.

As part of the process, teachers build a portfolio that includes student work samples, assignments, videotapes and a thorough analysis of their classroom teaching. Additionally, teachers are assessed on their knowledge of the subjects they teach.

The certification is expensive, costing about $2,000 for materials.

Wise said because of the addition of the state stipend, West Virginia’s rate of NBCT teachers nearly tripled, becoming one of the fastest states to grow NBCT teachers.

Wood County has the most National Board Certified Teachers with 79, according to the West Virginia Department of Education. Cabell County is a distant second with 55.

About 90 people gathered at the Parkersburg County Club Wednesday for dinner, including school system officials, teachers, state and local politicians and Wise. Board of Education member Lawrence Hasbargen delivered the welcome and recognized the newest class of NBCT educators. He said their efforts to achieve certification are unique and very difficult.

“Those in the education business are aware of that,” he said. Hasbargen, a retired school employee, was the only board member present.

Wise said educators who achieve this status in addition to enhancing their classroom also grow their surrounding, becoming leaders in the schools and school districts. He cited Owen.

“Frieda has been a strong drive,” he said. Owen, who retired in 2011, continues to work with groups of educators to pursue certification.

“The certification has a ripple effect,” Owen said. She said teachers become more collaborative and work together.