24 get national certification

It's the largest number of Alachua County teachers ever to get the prestigious honor.

Randy Garlitz, a reading teacher and tutor at Williams Elementary School, works with second-grader Aloha Blanchard. Garlitz is one of the first teachers in the country to be certified in a new category for reading and literacy teachers.

Special to The Sun
Published: Tuesday, January 4, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 3, 2005 at 10:45 p.m.

The largest-ever group of Alachua County public school teachers has been awarded national certification.


Newly nationally certified

Alachua County Public Schools' new nationally certified teachers are:
Jeffrey Brewster - Buchholz High
Georgia Browning - Newberry Elementary
Debra Bruner - Stephen Foster Elementary
Darby Desmond - Kanapaha Middle
Sally Fillipps - Hidden Oak Elementary
Kirsten Flamand - Buchholz High
Johnetta Floyd - Kanapaha Middle
Amy Fralick - High Springs Community
John Fuller - Lincoln Middle
Randy Garlitz - Williams Elementary
Susan Hartman - Prairie View and Williams
Jennifer Homard - Norton Elementary
Jana Jones - Ft. Clarke Middle
Leigh Larsen - Buchholz High
Melissa Mackenzie - Duval Elementary
Donna Martin - Buchholz High
Teresa Morgan - Idylwild Elementary
Leslie Peebles - Duval Elementary
Nancy Sanders - Norton Elementary
Sharon Skiles - Buchholz High
Deborah Speer - Duval Elementary
Ginger Stanford - Wiles Elementary
Sandy Tysowsky - Idylwild Elementary
Barbara Waters - Alachua Elementary

The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards reports that 24 teachers with Alachua County Public Schools have earned national certification, the profession's highest credential. National certification is recognized at both the state and federal level as a strong indicator of teacher quality. The district now has 73 nationally certified teachers.

"These teachers are wonderful examples of the many fine teachers we have working in our schools," said Superintendent Dan Boyd. "They have proven that they do an outstanding job of educating our students."

Certification is achieved through a rigorous performance-based assessment that takes nearly a year to complete.

Through the assessment process, teachers document their subject matter knowledge, provide evidence that they know how to teach their subjects to students effectively, and demonstrate their ability to manage and measure student progress.

Teachers who went through the process, including veterans, say it makes them better at their jobs. Even after 31 years in the classroom, Alachua Elementary School teacher Barbara Waters says earning her certification was a valuable experience.

"It's all about how your lessons affect a student's growth," she said. "It really makes you look at what the kids get out of what you did in the classroom."

The teachers who have earned certification are now eligible for a bonus of about $4,000, and can earn an additional bonus by serving as mentors for other teachers. These bonuses are currently funded by the state. The national certification is valid for 10 years.

Six-year teacher Randy Garlitz is another of the newly certified teachers. She is a reading teacher and tutor at Williams Elementary School, and is one of the first teachers in the country to be certified in a new category for reading and literacy teachers. She says the process helped her become more creative in her teaching.

"It really expands your thinking, helps you adapt what you do to best meet the needs of your students," she said.

Cyanne Williams, a 4th-grade teacher at Archer Community School, was among the first teachers in Alachua County to earn national certification in the 1998-99 school year. She is now the head of the Alachua County Area Teacher Leadership Consortium.

"The certification process forces us to reflect on what we've done in the classroom, how effective it was and what we're going to do next," she said. "You have to know that what you're doing facilitates learning."

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