Thirty-six Pasco teachers earn national certification

The three are among a record number.

By JEFFREY S. SOLOCHEK, Times Staff Writer
Published December 5, 2007

TRINITY -- Kim Faughan, Aimee Paus and Karen Logan have worked together teaching third-, fourth- and fifth-graders at Trinity Elementary for going on five years.

This year, they decided to kick their efforts up a notch.

"After so many years out of college, you need to refresh," Paus said.

So they challenged each other to earn certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. Only about 7 percent of teachers in the country hold the certification, which requires more than 400 hours of work and some grueling testing, too.

Their effort, which included evenings and Sundays together, paid off. The three, along with 33 other Pasco teachers, earned the recognition, district officials announced Tuesday.

It's the most National Board certified teachers the district has added in a single year, bringing the total number in Pasco classrooms to 148.

Faughan said the process reinvigorated her teaching style.

Paus agreed.

"I think we were able to reflect and refresh ourselves, and we will be able to go out there and help others," Paus said.

In Florida, teachers get an annual bonus of about $4,200 for becoming National Board certified, and double that by mentoring other teachers.

Logan said she grew as a teacher by seeking the certification. She acknowledged, though, that the bonuses, which some lawmakers have challenged as unneeded, did offer some motivation.

"Teacher pay is what it is," she said. "We want to better ourselves, of course, but we want that benefit as well."

Each of the teachers said she became an improved educator through her effort.

Faughan said she has begun letting students explore and learn more, rather than always feeling the need to lead every lesson. Paus said she works harder to find activities that allow children go in-depth into areas of personal interest. Logan said she tries to extend her students' learning into family and classroom settings, so they can get the sense that education translates into real life.

Trinity principal Kathryn Rushe said she is thrilled to have such dedicated teachers on her staff. Trinity has six National Board certified teachers.

"These teachers are still searching for ways to reach kids. That's what teaching is all about."

Jeffrey S. Solochek can be reached at solochek@sptimes.com or (813) 909-4614.

Who made the grade

Thirty-five Pasco teachers earned certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, the most in one year for the district. They are: