Sammamish, Issaquah Teachers Achieve National Board Certification

Dozens more teachers are now among the 326 in the neighboring districts who are National Board Certified.

Editor's Note: The following information is from press releases from the Lake Washington School District and the Issaquah School District.


Twenty-one Sammamish teachers and 15 Issaquah Teachers achieved National Board Certification, as announced by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. There are currently 204 National Board Certified Teachers (NBCT) working full-time in the Lake Washington Schoo District’s schools, and 122 NBCT Teachers working in the Issaquah School District.

“Lake Washington School District prides itself on the caliber of its teaching staff and we’re grateful to have so many teachers commit themselves to excellence,” said Lake Washington Superintendent Traci Pierce. “The National Board Certification process directly benefits our students because teachers increase their capacity to evaluate the best classroom strategies for academic success.”

“Hooray for our new National Board Certified teachers!” said Issaquah  Superintendent Steve Rasmussen. “Through this rigorous process, they have proven themselves to be among the best teachers in the U.S. We are proud to have them in Issaquah schools, where our students are the beneficiaries of their talent and dedication.”

NBC is a voluntary assessment program designed to recognize great teachers—and make them better. While state licensing systems establish a baseline of requirements for teachers, NBC teachers have successfully demonstrated advanced teaching knowledge, skills, and practices. NBC is the only credential process that compares a teacher’s knowledge and skills with a national set of professional standards. The process requires teachers to reflect on how they form and deliver lessons and demonstrate leadership in their schools and communities.

The application process is intense. NBC candidates average about 400 hours throughout the school year putting together a two-part submission package that includes: 1. A portfolio with a lesson plans, student work samples, and a videotape of live classroom teaching, all of which demonstrates the teacher’s impact on student learning; and 2. A written assessment that shows the teacher’s mastery of subject-area knowledge, classroom practices, and curriculum design. A national panel of teachers either approves the submission or returns it to the applicant for further development. National Board certification is considered the highest professional credential a teacher can obtain.

Lake Washington School District ranks 21st in the country for the number of new National Board Certified Teachers

Numbers released by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards show that the state of Washington is fourth overall in the total number of NBCTs (6,740).

Each teacher achieves certification in a subject area and age range. The new National Board Certified Teachers, along with their field, are:


Blackwell Elementary: Kathleen Pazaski, Library Media/Early Childhood through Young Adulthood

Eastlake High School: Sandra Don Chokr, World Languages/Adolescence through Young Adulthood; and

Rob Jones, English Language Arts/Adolescence and Young Adulthood

Inglewood Middle School: Sharon Leinweber, Science/Early Adolescence

Renaissance School: Jyoti Bawa, Science/Early Adolescence

Smith Elementary: Kristen Orth-Dunseth, Generalist/Middle Childhood

Skyline High School: Kyle Duggan, Math, and

Colin McCormick, Social Studies
Cheryl Reed, Health/Sports Medicine

Paige St. Pierre, French

Sunny Hills Elementary School: Kate McConnell, Fifth Grade

Discovery Elementary School: Kathryn Plakinger, Fifth Grade



Creekside Elementary School: Kathleen Blanding, Second Grade

Megan Graff, Second Grade

April O’Halloran, Fifth Grade

Issaquah Valley Elementary School: Steven Boynton, Fourth Grade

Susan Moffett, Third Grade

Challenger Elementary School: Alicia Favreau, Special Education

Briarwood Elementary School: Jennet Liljenquist, Third Grade

Beaver Lake Middle School: Cathy Daniels, Humanities

Issaquah High School: Tom Haff, Science

Nationwide, Washington state ranks fourth for total number of NBC teachers (6,817) and second for the largest number of newly Certified teachers in 2012 (575) among all states.

“I’ve been a strong supporter of the National Board program for years now,” said Randy Dorn, superintendent of public instruction. “All the certified teachers I’ve talked to said that the process was great. It made them look deeply into their teaching habits. Many of them became better teachers. And that results in better students.”

Locally, the Issaquah Schools Foundation and the Issaquah School District support NBC candidates by awarding grants of $1,500 to $3,000.

A Congressionally-mandated report by the National Research Council in 2007 affirmed the positive impact Board certification has on student achievement and teacher retention. Recognizing its value, the state Legislature enacted a $5,000 bonus for Washington teachers who complete the process.

More information is online at the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards website.




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