Wendy Thurston, a teacher at Elkins High School, earned her national board recertification this past year. She remains the only NBC agriculture teacher in West Virginia.
"I had to wait over six months before I knew if I had earned recertification or not pins and needles! But I'm glad I went for it," Thurston said. "It helped me refine my teaching and look hard at what I do and how I do it."
National Board Certification is the highest level of certification an educator can achieve.
Pictured are Nathan Taylor, West Virginia Department of Education coordinator of Agriculture, Science and Natural Resources; Wendy Thurston, agriculture teacher and FFA advisor, Elkins High School; Dave Fincham, principal of Elkins High School; and Don Johnson, Randolph County vocational director.
Agriculture students complete summer-supervised agriculture projects; here, Thurston evaluates Abbie Williams’ project during a home visit. Williams is showing Thurston how she tied her tomato plants loosely.
"We are very proud of Ms. Thurston. She has worked hard to provide opportunities for her students and certainly deserves this distinction," said Don Johnson, Randolph County vocational director.
The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards states its mission is in part to "recognize accomplished teaching through a rigorous professional certification process comparable to those found in other premier professions, such as medicine, engineering and law."
"I am always happy to see our staff obtain the National Board Certification," added Dave Fincham, principal of Elkins High School. "Ms. Thurston is a member of a very select group of teachers by continuing her National Board Certification."
Even though NBCTs are only a small percentage of the nation's teachers, they represent the largest group of accomplished teachers as recognized by the profession. NBCTs have had a disproportionate impact on improving education.
Nathan Taylor, West Virginia Department of Education coordinator of Agriculture, Science and Natural Resources was on hand to congratulate Thurston.
Nationwide, nearly 50 percent of NBCTs work in high-poverty schools. They are also among the nation's leaders in math and science. Since 2008, more than 30 percent of all winners of the Presidential Award for Excellence in mathematics and science teaching are NBCTs.
"I had to think carefully when I was deciding to go for recertification," Thurston said. "The first go around was really difficult and took a lot of time and effort. This time it seemed even harder."