[ Teaching & Learning ]

50 New Yorkers earn teaching’s gold standard


fter 23 years of teaching, Kenneth Buehner is feeling reenergized in his classroom and career with a new achievement added to his resume: National Board Certification.

“There’s been a lot of changes, particularly in the over 20 years since I started teaching in public education, and so it was a great opportunity to do some reassessing and research,” Buehner said. “It elevated the concept of being a teacher all over again.”

The years-long, painstaking process is no easy feat. Teachers must demonstrate a “deep understanding of their students, content knowledge, use of data and assessments and teaching practice” through video recordings, written commentary and student work samples submitted to the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.

“At times it was grueling,” Buehner said candidly. “But it’s worthwhile.”

Buehner, a social studies teacher and member of the Sherburne-Earlville Teachers Association, is one of 50 teachers statewide who attained the ‘gold standard’ of the profession in 2023. His local is one of many in New York that has successfully advocated for a yearly stipend incentive for achieving this level of expertise.

Buehner acknowledges it may be daunting, especially for newer teachers, to look at the cost of paying for their certification. Each of the four mandatory assessment components cost $475, for a total cost of $1,900. He encourages teachers to get information from their union on the state’s Albert Shanker Grant, which covers the costs.

“It’s a huge help,” Buehner said. “It might not seem like much money for some, but for a young teacher every penny counts.”

NYSUT strongly supports national board candidates by offering awareness programs, supportive writing retreats, online discussion forums and professional learning through the union’s Education & Learning Trust and the state network of teacher centers.

“We can’t thank you enough for taking the opportunity to lead in a profession that is constantly under attack,” said NYSUT Executive Vice President Jaime L. Ciffone. “Your hard work and dedication to our profession is an inspiration to us all.”

Ciffone highlighted the many ways NBCTs can leverage their certification to become more involved in their union including becoming part of NYSUT’s subject area committees. These committees are made up of teachers from across the state who help shape education policy with the State Education Department on behalf of NYSUT.

NYSUT will celebrate the Class of 2023 National Board Certified Teachers virtually on April 11. The event will be streamed live at nysut.cc/nbct2024.