BOONE, N.C. — Appalachian State University is known nationally as an established leader in teacher education — a fact supported by the university’s record as the No. 1 alma mater for National Board Certified Teachers (NBCT).
For the eighth consecutive year, App State topped the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards’ list of “Top 50 Alma Maters by Total Number of NBCTs” for 2023, with 2,321 alumni having earned the national credential to date.
The certification is achieved through a rigorous performance-based assessment that typically takes from one to three years to complete.
“One of our key priorities in the college is to promote and empower educators for a lifelong learning journey,” said Dr. Melba Spooner, dean of App State’s Reich College of Education (RCOE). “Our programs in the college equip our students and alumni with the essential tools to be successful educators.”
App State awards an average of 721 teaching degrees and certificates to graduates each year — many who go on to fulfill teaching and school administration positions throughout North Carolina.
North Carolina continues to lead the nation in the number of teachers who have become board certified, with 24,243 educators having earned the certification since 1987. In 2022, 486 North Carolina teachers gained the endorsement.
App State partners with alliance to help NC educators achieve certification
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.
RCOE Public School Partnership Director Betsy Rosenbalm ’01 ’05 ’08, who earned the NBCT credential in 2006 and recertification in 2016, said she has observed more participation in the NBCTApps Saturday workshops for this academic year.
“We are averaging around 55 NBCT candidates and between 10 and 15 NBCT App State Alumni Mentors available on-site to support our candidates in our regular support sessions,” she shared. “Their interest in this professional development process has been a true testament to the caliber of educators in our region and their continued desire to improve their craft in their classrooms.”
RCOE alumna Barnanne Creech ’90, who was named runner-up for the 2023 North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching Career and Technical Education Teacher of the Year award, described the workshops as “awesome,” adding that she appreciates App State and RCOE for investing in North Carolina educators.
“Learning takes place from one another as we share best practices for an accomplished NBCT teacher,” said Creech. “Whether you are working through your four components seeking National Boards, or renewing and completing your Maintenance of Certification, we all learn from one another.”
Alumna Kinsi King ’16, who holds a curriculum specialist master’s degree from App State, said the NBCTApps support program has made her a stronger mentor to beginning teachers.
“Digging in to process the aspects of National Board with these candidates in turn helps me dig into some of the teaching components with new teachers — asking the why and how questions,” she added.
Nationally, 3,527 teachers earned certification in 2022–23, raising the total among all states to over 137,000. In addition, 6,697 teachers nationally achieved recertification, including 1,158 board-certified teachers in North Carolina.
North Carolina accounts for nearly 24% 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.
Founded in 1899 as Watauga Academy, App State evolved into a teachers college before transitioning into the comprehensive university it is known as today. The university continues to have one of the largest teacher education programs in North Carolina, with at least one App State graduate employed in almost all 100 counties of the state.
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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 a premier public institution, 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.