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App State Leads Nation in Certified Teachers for 5th Consecutive Year

For the fifth consecutive year, Appalachian State University leads the nation for the number of its Reich College of Education (RCOE) alumni who are National Board Certified Teachers (NBCT).

The national certification is based on a rigorous performance-based assessment that typically takes from one to three years to complete and measures what accomplished teachers and counselors should know and be able to do.

The university topped the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards’ list of “Top 50 Alma Maters by Total Number of NBCTs” for 2020, with 2,178 alumni having earned the national credential to date.

Additionally, North Carolina continues to lead the nation in the number of teachers who have become NBCTs—23,090 educators have earned the certification since 1987. In 2020, 467 North Carolina teachers gained the endorsement.

“We are proud to continue to lead the nation’s public and private universities and colleges with the highest number of alumni with the National Board Certification credential,” said RCOE Dean Melba Spooner.

Spooner continued, “Our alumni place an intrinsic value on being leaders in their field and educators who continuously demonstrate the willingness and ability to engage in reflective practice. Certainly, during this year that has presented extraordinary challenges, our alumni have demonstrated their commitment of teaching excellence with resilience and distinction.”

Nationally, 2,576 teachers earned certification in the 2019–20 academic year, raising the total among all states to more than 128,000. In addition, 2,484 teachers nationally achieved recertification, including 643 board-certified teachers in North Carolina.

North Carolina accounts for nearly one-fifth, or 18%, of all teachers nationally who are certified by the teaching standards organization. Nationally certified teachers also account for a larger percentage of the total teaching force in North Carolina than any other state, with more than one of every five having earned the credential.

In August 2020, RCOE’s Public School Partnership collaborated with the state’s Northwest Regional Education Service Alliance to create NBCTApps (National Board Certified Teacher-Apps)—a joint professional development program to help North Carolina educators achieve their National Board Certification. The program provides monthly professional development and mentoring sessions for NBCT candidates.

“This program helps lay the foundation for a commitment to lifelong learning through an initiative of pairing our nationally board-certified alumni with aspiring teachers in the field who are pursuing this advanced certification, which in turn creates a connection for our alumni to give back to the university and the profession,” Spooner explained.

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