Two Texarkana ISD have earned National Board Certification. Texas High School science teacher Amy Baker, and Wake Village Elementary Instructional Coach, Rachel Sparks, join the over 130,000 teachers across the United States who are Board-certified. Both accomplished educators earned the profession’s highest mark of achievement through a rigorous, performance-based, peer-review process and demonstrated their proven impact on student learning and achievement.
Amy Baker has been a science teacher at Texas High School since 2009. She has taught STEM Biology I and teaches Biology II AP, Biology II DC, and Anatomy/Physiology. Baker also serves as an adjunct Biology teacher at Texarkana College. She began her career as a Biology lab assistant and instructor at New Mexico Tech.
Texas High School Principal, Patti O’Bannon, said, “Mrs. Baker is a very dedicated teacher who has worked countless hours to receive her National Board Certification. She is to be commended for her pursuit of excellence as an educator. We are very fortunate to have Mrs. Baker teach our students at Texas High School.”
Rachel Sparks has 19 years in education, with 12 years as a classroom teacher. She is currently an Instructional Coach at Wake Village Elementary. She graduated from the University of Texas – Tyler in 2003. In June 2022, Sparks received her Master of Science degree in Curriculum and Instrucal from Western Governors University.
“Mrs. Sparks takes pride in everything she does and strives to meet every challenge. She has a genuine desire to see our teachers and students succeed and is dedicated to helping them on their path to success. She enjoys learning and sharing with others and I am so happy she is a member of our Wake Village Family. I am so proud of her achievement!” Wake Village Elementary Principal Mindy Jennings
Both Baker and Sparks pursued their National Board Certification over a two-year period, where they completed the required four components. The components included a test of their teaching content and pedagogy. They also had to write essays, submit teaching videos, and provide evidence of parent and colleague communication and professional development in which they participated. While Baker and Sparks finished their certification in the minimum two-year allotment, candidates have five years to retake components and to certify once they begin the process. About 70% of candidates certify, with about 40% on their first attempt. Of the over 320,000 teachers in Texas, only about 1,100 are National Board certified.
The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, established in 1987, is an independent, nonprofit organization working to advance accomplished teaching for all students.
The National Board was established as the profession’s vehicle for defining and recognizing accomplished teaching. National Board Standards are created by teachers, for teachers, as is National Board Certification, a voluntary process to certify teachers against those standards.
Recognized as the gold standard in teacher certification, the National Board believes higher standards for teachers mean better learning for students.
Teachers who have participated in the Board certification process say it is the most valuable and transformative professional development they have ever received. The opportunity to connect professional learning with classroom practice brings a teacher’s experience to life, helping them reflect on individual student learning needs.
National Board Certification is the most respected professional certification available in education and provides numerous benefits to teachers, students, and schools. The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards designed it to develop, retain and recognize accomplished teachers and to generate ongoing improvement in schools nationwide. Only 3% of teachers nationwide receive this certification.