12 C-R teachers earn national certification


By Jim Poole and Patsy Nicosia

“You reflect on best practices, what you’re doing and why you’re doing it.”
That’s Cobleskill-Richmondville teacher Dawn Kaminsky’s take on earning National Board Certification, a rigorous but rewarding process to improve teaching.
Ms. Kaminsky is one of 12 C-R teachers to be nationally certified, giving the district the highest concentration of those top teachers in Schoharie County and surrounding school districts.
Two C-R teachers, English language arts teacher Liz Seyboth and library media specialist Nancy Goldblatt, recently received their certification. Ms. Kaminsky, first certified in 2010, renewed hers this year.
Although earning certification is an honor for teachers, students benefit as well.
“It offers our students the opportunity to have teachers who are growing and learning right along with them, honing their craft and improving their profession,” Ms. Kaminsky said.
C-R Superintendent Carl Mummenthey agreed, adding that with National Board certification, “there’s a higher degree of assurance that the teacher is at the very top of his or her profession.
“They become better teachers through the process.”
That process isn’t easy. Portfolios, video recordings and a test are required, and the process can take 500 hours, although that time may be spread over three years.
A national panel grades the panel while the teachers remain anonymous––no full names or school districts.
The process is expensive, though grants can cover some of the $2,000 cost for a new certification. Ms. Kaminsky paid $1,250 out of pocket for her renewal.
The dozen certified C-R teachers represent about 10 percent of eligible teachers in the district, Ms. Kaminsky said.
“That’s pretty good considering about three percent of all teachers nationwide are NBCTs,” she added.
Ms. Kaminsky said certified teachers become advocates and leaders, and she especially pointed to Radez School teacher Regina Anderson, who’s the National Board co-coordinator for Eastern Upstate New York.
“Regina’s extremely interested in professional development, which is what this is,” Ms. Kaminsky said.
C-R teachers receive a stipend, similar to additional pay for graduate credits, for becoming certified. But for teachers, certification is about becoming better, not the money.
“It forces teachers to step back and take a look at their teachers,” Ms. Kaminsky said. “Doing this opened a door for me and put more life into my teaching.”
She credited Mr. Mummenthey, the school board and district with encouraging teachers to pursue National Board certification. Mr. Mummenthey welcomed the opportunity.
“The most important things we do every day happen in the classroom,” he said. “That’s our teachers.”
Ms. Kaminsky said any teacher interested in learning more can contact her at Ryder School or Ms. Anderson at Radez.
“We welcome any teacher from any district,” Ms. Kaminsky said.
Besides Ms. Kaminsky, Ms. Anderson, Ms. Goldblatt and Ms. Seyboth, other C-R certified teachers are:
Kate Elder, Kathleen Lumley, Mary Jane Lynd, Laurie Moretti, Bryan Rice, Colleen Sheehan, Katie Sill and Tracy Smith.
According to the National Board website, Middleburgh is the only other Schoharie County school with certified teachers. MCS has six:
Jason Dannible, Frederick Kopff, Eileen LaSpaluto, Patricia Luria, Joseph Narzymski and Melinda Narzymski.