Twenty-Six Bellevue Educators Newly Earn or Renew National Board Certificates

The Bellevue School District is proud of the 26 Bellevue educators who have earned or renewed their National Board certificates. Three of these teachers went through the experience as first-time candidates — an intense experience that requires them to demonstrate advanced knowledge, skills and practice in their individual certificate area by completing four separate components: three portfolio entries and a computer-based assessment.

These teachers had the opportunity to defer the pursuit of certification due to COVID-19, but instead chose to submit their work to the National Board.

Pamela Behan from Medina Elementary felt motivated to renew her National Boards because she felt that it made sense to maintain her certification, and reviewing the National Boards Standards is helpful for any educator. Going through the process allowed her to reflect on her practice and take the necessary actions needed for student learning and overall engagement.

By applying for National Board certification, Bellevue educators volunteer to put their teaching skills and content knowledge up against the highest standards in the nation. Teachers meet regularly with their colleagues to discuss their teaching, curriculum and assessment tools, and to evaluate video tapes of one another teaching.

“I was drawn to education because I love helping others. The National Board certification was the best professional development I’ve ever had.  It was an opportunity to deeply reflect on my practice and as a result make positive impacts on student learning.”

— Jacqueline Bruce, Speech-Language Pathologist with the Evergreen Transition Program

School photo of Jacqueline Bruce

Rigorous National Board Standards

National Board Standards are developed by committees of outstanding educators who are broadly representative of accomplished professionals in their field. In addition to classroom teachers, other committee members may include experts in child development, teacher education and relevant disciplines.

“Pursuing National Board Certification was the absolute best professional decision I ever made. It was one of the hardest things that I have ever had to do but also the most rewarding and transformative. I was ready to challenge myself and move my practice to another level. I saw it as a way to hold myself accountable and measure myself against a set of accomplished teaching standards. It was a personal journey that really forced me to examine my teaching and to explain why I make the daily decisions I make for students.”

–Lianne Leewens, Tyee Middle School

Bellevue School District currently employs roughly 400 National Board Certified Teachers (NBCTs).  According to the National Board, Bellevue ranks 22nd out of all public school districts nationwide in terms of the total number of NBCTs who have earned the distinction: Top 30 Districts by Total Number of NBCTs. In addition, Bellevue School District was recognized by the National Board as one of four districts in the country in which more than 40% of its staff has earned certification since the inception of the National Board process: National Board Accomplished Districts. As of today, there are over 70 Bellevue teachers actively working toward achieving or renewing their National Board Certificate.

District and Partner Support for Educators

The district’s support of educators for their candidacy helps ease the financial burden placed on staff. To further relieve financial burden, teachers pursuing National Board certification for the first time can receive additional financial support through funds provided by the Sherry Ladd Endowment for Teacher Development. Learn more about this gift. In addition, the Bellevue Schools Foundation (BSF) has provided grants to fund content-area facilitators and a videographer to support teachers district-wide this year.  BSF has continuously and generously supported Bellevue teachers in their pursuit of National Board certification since 2003. The collective support of the Bellevue School District and the Bellevue Schools Foundation makes it possible for Bellevue teachers to participate in the highest level of professional development available to educators today.

“I have wanted to be a teacher for as long as I can remember because kids are the best kind of people. I am lucky to be surrounded everyday by students who are curious, fun, caring, and helpful.”

– Nikki Unck, Newport Heights Elementary

School Photo of Niki Unck
The Bellevue School District acknowledges that we learn, work, live and gather on the Indigenous Land of the Coast Salish peoples, specifically the Duwamish and Snoqualmie Tribes. We thank these caretakers of this land, who have lived and continue to live here, since time immemorial.