Eight SAD 44 teachers receive national certification

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BETHEL — Eight teachers from School Administrative District 44 recently received accreditation from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.

Superintendent David Murphy called it “a very significant accomplishment.”

“It is an intense, multiyear effort that involves a great deal of self-critique and personal growth,” Murphy said. “Their recognition is a tribute to their own individual efforts to grow professionally.”

Five teachers from Crescent Park Elementary School in Bethel, two from Woodstock Elementary School in Woodstock, and the district’s math coach for K-12, received their lapel pins from Murphy, signifying their efforts.

Crescent Park School pin recipients are second-grade teachers Brenda Wight, Alice Lee and Gina Lavoie, third-grade teacher Heidi Bullen and Renee Charette, who is on a leave of absence, but was formerly the math coach.

“It has made me a more reflective teacher and my teaching practices when I am working with both children and adults are much more impactful than before I began this process,” said Charette, who is in the Masters of Educational Leadership program at the University of Maine Farmington.

Pin recipients from Woodstock school are Jessica Wilkey, teaching principal, Tonya Prentice, who teaches fifth grade, and Karen Wilson, the district’s math coach.

The certification process was possible thanks to the Teacher Incentive Fund grant the school received in 2013. It provided additional funds for more training and development opportunities for teachers. The grant paid for the numerous exams required for national certification.

“By going through this process, I was able to truly reflect on my students’ individual learning needs and strive to develop lessons to help them find success,” Bullen said.

In order to be nationally certified, teachers must have a bachelor’s degree, at least three years of classroom experience and posses a valid teaching license.

They also needed to take a series of component assessments, including content knowledge, differentiation in instruction, teaching practice and learning environment, and effective and reflective practitioner.

“Successful completion, for me, reaffirms that what I do every day as a professional is truly making a difference for my students, not only academically but socially and emotionally,” Lavoie said. “Working intensely on the components of national board certification has allowed me to analyze every part of what I do as an educator and to better fine-tune which direction I wish my career to go.”

Along with the exams, they are required to submit a portfolio that includes reports, videos, reflections on and critiques of their teaching process.

“As a veteran teacher of 35 years, I wanted to ensure that I was up to date with my teaching practice and demonstrate my commitment to students — academically, socially, emotionally — and their learning. I love what I do each and every day,” said Wight.

Crescent Park School Principal Elaine Ferland said it took the teachers about three years to receive their accreditation.

“I’m so proud of the teachers for all their hard work, and being role models of lifelong learners,” Ferland said.

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School Administrative District 44 teacher Tonya Prentice, left, and Jessica Wilkey received their lapel pins from Superintendent David Murphy, center, after being nationally accredited. Prentice teaches fifth-grade and Wilkey is the principal at Woodstock Elementary School. (SAD 44 photo)

Eight teachers from School Administrative District 44 in Bethel recently received accreditation from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. From left are Alice Lee, Jessica Wilkey, Brenda Wight, Tonya Prentice, Gina Lavoie, Heidi Bullen and Karen Wilson. Missing from the photo is Renee Charette. (SAD 44 photo)

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