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Trio earn national board certification
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Effingham County Board of Education members recognized three teachers — Dr. Freddie Waltz, Lynda Hill and Grady Zittrouer — for earning national board certification Wednesday.

“It is a great honor to do that,” Superintendent Randy Shearouse said. “We have a few (national board certified teachers) in our system, but not a lot.”

Zittrouer said the program began in the early 1990s to recognize master teachers throughout the country.

“Our reward for becoming a nationally certified teacher is that we get a tenure certificate that we can use anywhere in the United States to teach,” he said.

He said the first thing a teacher must do is understand the standards the national board has.

“We are committed to students and their learning,” Zittrouer said. “We have knowledge of our content area, and we know how to teach that content to students. We are providing an environment in which our students can learn. Part of it that we have learned throughout our experience how to reflect on what we’ve been doing and how to make it better.” 

He said there were a couple of steps to the process, including a portfolio that included a piece of students’ work with the teacher reflecting on why the student was able to or unable to learn the content.

He said the teachers were required to video a class and video a portion of another class. They then had to write an analysis of that.

“We had to document our accomplishments over the last five years,” Zittrouer said. “When I did this, I had just moved into the system, and I had been in several systems.”

He said teachers also must take a test over their content area and how they teach.

Zittrouer said it took him more than a year to complete the process, but the other two teachers completed the process in a year.

“I want to applaud them for being able to do this in one year,” he said.

He said there are only around 18-20 percent of teachers who earn the certification in a year, and only 40-50 percent of teachers who attempt to earn the certification complete the process.

“I think we are glad there is an organization that recognizes master teachers,” Zittrouer said.

He said they were given an incentive to earn the certificate.

Board Chairperson Vera Jones congratulated the teachers on their accomplishments.

“I want to say we appreciate that you took the initiative to do that,” Jones said.

She said they can hear the amount of work, and would like to see the videos the teachers submitted.

“We appreciate the job that you guys do,” Jones said. “You’re absolutely right — we need every incentive out there for the teachers.”

Shearouse presented each of the teachers with a certificate for earning the certification.