BOONE, N.C. — For the sixth consecutive year, Appalachian State University leads the nation for the number of its alumni who are National Board Certified Teachers (NBCT).
The national certification is based on a rigorous performance-based assessment that typically takes from one to three years to complete and measures what accomplished teachers and counselors should know and be able to do.
The university topped the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards’ list of “Top 50 Alma Maters by Total Number of NBCTs” for 2021, with 2,211 alumni having earned the national credential to date.
Additionally, North Carolina continues to lead the nation in the number of teachers who have become NBCTs — since 1987, 23,418 educators have earned the certification. In 2021, 399 North Carolina teachers gained the endorsement.
Dr. Melba Spooner, dean of App State’s Reich College of Education (RCOE), said, “We are proud to continue to lead the nation’s public and private universities and colleges with the highest number of alumni with the National Board Certification credential.
“Our alumni value continuing their education and engaging in reflective practice to become stronger teachers and educational leaders,” Spooner continued. “App State offers dedicated resources to support them in their pursuit of these endeavors.”
Nationally, 2,073 teachers earned certification in the 2020–21 academic year, raising the total among all states to over 130,000. In addition, 5,304 teachers nationally achieved recertification, including 1,124 board-certified teachers in North Carolina.
North Carolina accounts for nearly one-fifth (23%) of all teachers nationally who are certified by the teaching standards organization. Nationally certified teachers also account for a larger percentage of the total teaching force in North Carolina than any other state, with more than one of every five having earned the credential.
NBCTApps supports certification-seeking alumni
RCOE’s Public School Partnership collaborated with the state’s Northwest Regional Education Service Alliance in 2020 to create NBCTApps (National Board Certified Teacher-Apps) — a joint professional development program to help North Carolina educators achieve their National Board Certification. The program provides monthly professional development and mentoring sessions for NBCT candidates.
“The process of working toward National Board Certification is such a rich, reflective journey,” said Public School Partnership Director Betsy Rosenbalm ’01 ’05 ’08, who earned the NBCT credential in 2006 and recertification in 2016. “Our NBCTApps program aims to lock arms with aspiring teachers who are seeking out this growth process and encourage them to take advantage of all of the support and wisdom that our certified App State alumni have to offer.”
NBCTApps participant Allie Kaylor ’13, an exceptional children’s teacher at East Alexander Middle School, said the program “made all the difference” in helping her improve her classroom instruction and meet the requirements for NBCT certification.
Kaylor, who achieved NBCT certification in November 2021, said, “I am so appreciative for the opportunity to have access to such an amazing support group that is focused on helping teachers achieve their goals and improve their classroom instruction.”
App State was founded in 1899 as a teachers college and continues to have one of the largest teacher education programs in North Carolina. School systems in almost all of the state’s 100 counties employ at least one graduate of App State’s Reich College of Education.
What do you think?
Share your feedback on this story.
About the Reich College of Education
Appalachian State University offers one of the largest undergraduate teacher preparation programs in North Carolina, graduating about 500 teachers a year. The Reich College of Education enrolls more than 2,000 students in its bachelor's, master's, education specialist and doctoral degree programs. With so many teacher education graduates working in the state, there is at least one RCOE graduate teaching in every county in North Carolina. Learn more at https://rcoe.appstate.edu.
About Appalachian State University
As the premier public undergraduate institution in the Southeast, Appalachian State University prepares students to lead purposeful lives. App State is one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina System, with a national reputation for innovative teaching and opening access to a high-quality, affordable education for all. The university enrolls more than 21,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and 80 graduate majors at its Boone and Hickory campuses and through App State Online. Learn more at https://www.appstate.edu.