|Five teachers in the Humboldt Unified School District earned the designation of Arizona Master Teacher out of 25 statewide at the 4th Annual Celebration of Accomplished Teaching on Feb. 9 in Chandler. From left are Norma King, second grade teacher at Liberty Traditional School; Christina Gabaldon, second grade teacher at Granville Elementary; Melissa Tannehill, Instructional Specialist for all three middle schools; Sandra Clark, Gear-Up Coordinator; and Connie Hargis, third/fourth grade combination class at Lake Valley Elementary.|
Five Humboldt Unified School District teachers earned the honor of becoming an Arizona Master Teacher this month along with 20 others throughout the state. They join two other HUSD Master Teachers from 2011, and will become mentors for 12 more candidates this year.
Receiving honors on Feb. 9 at the Fourth Annual Celebration of Accomplished Teaching hosted by the Arizona K-12 Center and Arizona Public Service in Chandler, were: Norma King, second grade teacher at Liberty Traditional School; Christina Gabaldon, second grade teacher at Granville Elementary; Melissa Tannehill, Instructional Specialist for all three middle schools; Sandra Clark, Gear-Up Coordinator; and Connie Hargis, third/fourth grade combination class at Lake Valley Elementary.
To apply for the certification, teachers must have at least three years teaching experience; be certified in the subject or grade level they are teaching; and have positive teaching evaluations for the three prior years. They agree to spend three years mentoring other teachers.
The process includes three components with documentation of artifacts, self-assessment, reflection, and videos. They must show how they create a supportive learning environment in the classroom; plan a 3-5 hour instructional plan that fits into a regular teaching assignment related to Arizona Academic Standards, together with adaptations for differences among learners (high-, mid-, low-achieving and diverse learners), and analyze work samples from each; show collaboration with families and with administrators; and complete an Individual Professional Development Plan.
Although certification as a Master Teacher does not bring with it more money, it can open doors to other opportunities, said HUSD Director of Educational Services Diana Green.
"Now that they are designated as a Master Teacher, if they want to apply for something they are certified for, they have that designation to add to their resumes," Green said. "If you've got a Master Teacher status and a reading endorsement, for example, you become very marketable. These teachers have demonstrated skills."
Master Teachers might be attracted to leadership positions but not necessarily, she added. Some may want to specialize and apply for a different position.
"It's a status that is hard to achieve," Green said. "I'm tickled to death that we have these teachers. It means a lot to our district that we have promoted this program and that we have teachers who meet the requirements, and that want to apply for it and go through the process. It does create a level of teachers that were always there but now are being recognized."
The next step for teachers wanting to move beyond Arizona Master Teacher designation is earning the National Board Certificate, a rigorous, time-consuming effort. Clark and Tanya Koster, Instructional Specialist, earned their NBC this past year, and the district has six more candidates this year.
"When you see somebody with a National Board Certificate, you've got a very highly qualified teacher who has gone through intensive, rigorous training. It's a feat in itself," Green said.