Eight Peninsula teachers earn national board certification

By Arwyn Rice
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — Eight teachers in four school districts on the North Olympic Peninsula have been awarded the nation’s highest certification for teachers.

Statewide, 516 teachers earned National Board Certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards in December — more than any other state, according to the organization’s website, www.nbpts.org.

Who earned it

The teachers are Suzanne Keegan and Mark Schmidt of the Port Angeles School District; Stephanie Lewis and Joseph Sullivan of Sequim High School; Joelle Sanders of Neah Bay Elementary School; and John Berdinner, David Diprete and Garth Gourley of the Chimacum School District.

National Board Certification is an advanced teaching credential that requires a two-year study program, videos of candidates teaching and samples of student work.

Certification must be renewed every 10 years.

Keegan is a first-grade teacher at Franklin Elementary School, while Schmidt is a science teacher at Stevens Middle School.

“We are extremely proud of Suzanne and Mark’s accomplishment. National Board Certification involves incredible dedication and many long hours in preparation for the certification process. We congratulate both for this achievement,” Superintendent Jane Pryne said.

They are the 15th and 16th teachers in the Port Angeles School District with current national certifications.


Lewis teaches physical education while Sullivan teaches science and physics at Sequim High.

They brought the Sequim School District’s list of nationally certified teachers to 22.

“Sequim High School is so proud of Stephanie and Joe for their hard work and diligence, and we are happy they have achieved this distinction along with the many other nationally board-certified teachers at the high school,” Principal Shawn Langston said.

Cape Flattery

Sanders, who teaches a third- and fourth-grade class at Neah Bay Elementary, is the second teacher in the Cape Flattery School District to earn a current national certificate.

Sanders said the certification isn’t easy and that it was her second attempt.

“That is where my growth mind-set came into play. I decided that I just couldn’t give up on my dream,” she said.

Also in Clallam County, Crescent School District has one nationally certified teacher.

Berdinner teaches math, Diprete teaches science, and Gourley teaches music in the Chimacum School District.

Their certifications bring the number of nationally certified teachers in the district to six.

“There seems to be a real synergy right now,” Superintendent Rich Stewart said.


Teacher Maren Johnson, who previously earned a certification, is a leader who encourages and mentors other teachers in the process, Stewart said.

“Not a lot of teachers earn it on their first try. It’s a hard thing to do,” he said.

Also in Jefferson County, Port Townsend has nine nationally certified teachers, and Quilcene School District has three, according to the National Board website.


Reporter Arwyn Rice can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5070, or at arwyn.rice@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: January 07. 2014 5:57PM
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