Tuesday, February 15, 2011

School District 27J Teacher Earns National Board Certification

School District 27J teacher Alicia “A.J.” McKinney has achieved certification through the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS). McKinney is one of 65 Colorado teachers who received this certification in 2010, which is a national standard for teaching excellence. She currently teaches 6th grade English and Social Studies at Otho Stuart Middle School, where she served on the planning team to prepare for the school’s opening in 2009. McKinney has been teaching for 19 years. During her nine years with School District 27J, she also taught at Second Creek and Northeast Elementary Schools.

“A.J. strives for excellence in everything she does,” says Otho Stuart Middle School principal Martin Pearson. “We are very proud of her ongoing hard work and dedication.”

McKinney says she pursued the challenging national certification because it represents the highest level a teacher can achieve to demonstrate competency. “It was a very reflective program, and what I learned about myself and how my efforts impact students and their achievement was very valuable,” she says. She is ready to mentor other teachers with the same goal. The certification process took two years, and included passing six assessment tests, and submittal of lesson plans, videotaped teaching sessions, and multiple portfolios to show competence teaching in all core subjects. Currently working on her dissertation, McKinney is also nearing completion on a doctorate degree in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Denver.

McKinney is the only teacher in the district to achieve NBPTS certification at the elementary and middle school level. She says the energy of the students in middle school “keeps you happy.” She and her husband, Michael, are the parents of two students who attend school in the district: Megan is in the 8th grade at Otho Stuart Middle School and Sydney is a freshman at Prairie View High School.

McKinney is the fifth teacher in School District 27J to achieve national certification since it became available in 1994. Brighton High School teachers Aarika Capra and Kathey Ruybal were certified in 2009. Mary Glatz is retired from the district, and Joan Kniss is president of the 27J school board.

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