Tessa Johnson, Evonne Joseph, Katherine Stephens, and Amanda Thornton

Four educators from the Ridgefield School District (RSD) recently earned certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS). This achievement signifies the successful completion of a rigorous program dedicated to refining teaching techniques and methodologies that enhance students' enthusiasm for learning.

National Board Certification is an advanced teaching credential that goes beyond state licensure. Only about 40 percent of educators earn the certification on their first attempt, but participating in a support cohort increases the rate of success. Ridgefield schools now have 32 National Board Certified Teachers. 

Ridgefield School District’s newest Nationally Board Certified Teachers are:

  • Tessa Johnson, exceptional needs teacher at Ridgefield High School

  • Evonne Joseph, math teacher at Ridgefield High School

  • Katherine Stephens, social studies teacher at View Ridge Middle School

  • Amanda Thornton, 3rd grade teacher at South Ridge Elementary School

“National Board Certification for teachers is important because the paramount focus is on student learning,” said Deb Ortner, Elementary Professional Development Teacher on Special Assignment (TOSA) for the district and a board certified teacher herself. “The National Board Certification process is known to take 300-400 hours beyond the school day to complete, and these four teachers completed the entire process in just one year to achieve certification. It is an incredible accomplishment and I am so proud of each of them.“

In addition to the four new NBCTs, Ridgefield had seven more existing NBCTs renew their certification through the Maintenance of Certification process:

  • Erika Muir, TOSA at Sunset Ridge Intermediate/View Ridge Middle schools 

  • Matt Whitton, professional development TOSA

  • Michelle Hankins, art teacher at View Ridge Middle School

  • Sheila Davis, STEM teacher at View Ridge Middle School

  • Sara Marshall, 1st grade teacher at South Ridge Elementary School

  • Janelle Fey, history teacher at View Ridge Middle School

  • Courtney Thompson, performing arts teacher at View Ridge Middle School 

“National Board Certified Teachers are able to identify student learning, the instructional strategies that brought that learning about, and to make important adjustments when the learning does not occur – and follow through until it does,” Ortner said. “Through the portfolio submissions for certification, teachers reflect upon their practice to determine when students are truly learning and what instructional strategies helped to bring that learning about. This refinement of the reflection process has been shown to increase student learning and engagement in the classrooms of National Board Certified Teachers.”