Kirsten Sanchez, business teacher at Huntley High School, recently earned her certification as a National Board Certified Teacher (NBCT) from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.
Sanchez holds a bachelor of arts degree in business and was formerly in the corporate world, working in human resources as a recruiter. While earning her master’s degree in education, she was a teaching assistant in Palatine and was then hired by Huntley 158 seven years ago to teach business courses at the high school.
Sanchez said she was looking for a way to advance herself that would help her become a better teacher. She felt positive about the whole experience and enjoyed interacting with teachers at other high schools across the state.
“I felt like I became a more well-rounded person,” said Sanchez. “It really helps you solidify practices in your classroom.”
National Board Certification is a two-year process and consists of four components: a knowledge-based assessment; differentiation; teaching practice and learning environment; and effective and reflective practitioner. Requirements differ by content area and cohorts are offered both in-person and virtually.
According to Sanchez, the CBCT process was “just a big project” that involved her students. Per requirements, Sanchez taught employability skills, which included practice with speed interviewing and networking and enhancing students’ interpersonal, communication and problem-solving skills. Students also developed skits, comic strips and videos focused on maintaining professionalism and positivity in the workplace. NBCT projects are overseen by district or building administrators and past projects have included developing math supports and homework for families; organizing and identifying executive functioning lessons for students; strengthening the medical academy; writing science performance assessments; developing SEL lessons; and supporting teachers with remote learning resources.
“Anybody can do this if they have the right mindset and it can be done at any time in their career,” said Sanchez. “My students loved it and felt a part of it.”
In Illinois, educators are now able to apply for board certification after teaching three years. Certification is valid for five years and may be renewed. The state of Illinois currently offers a subsidy that pays for National Board Certification so there is no cost to educators. For more information about the benefits of and process for earning National Board Certification, visit the ISBE website.