Two Charles County Public Schools teachers, Laura Buzzell at Henry E. Lackey High School, and Deborah Simmons at Milton M. Somers Middle School, recently joined the ranks of accomplished teachers nationwide who achieved national certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS).
Both teachers completed a yearlong performance-based assessment series to become National Board Certified Teachers. The assessment is designed to measure what accomplished teachers should know and be able to do. The process requires teachers to demonstrate how their activities strengthen student performance and student achievement.
Buzzell and Simmons join 31 other Charles County Public Schools teachers who hold current national certification status. Buzzell is a mathematics teacher at Lackey and earned her certification in the area of young adulthood. She began her career with the school system in 2007 at Lackey and currently teaches Algebra I, Advanced Placement (AP) calculus and the Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) course for juniors. Buzzell has a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and Spanish from Susquehanna University, and a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from McDaniel College.
Simmons is a mathematics teacher at Somers and earned her certification in the area of mathematics/early adolescence. She began her career with Charles County Public Schools in 2002 at John Hanson Middle School, and has been teaching at Somers since 2005. Simmons teaches all of the seventh-grade accelerated math students. She has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and mathematics from West Liberty State College, and a master’s degree in middle school curriculum and instruction from Virginia Polytechnic Institute.
National Board Certified Teachers must complete a rigorous review of their skills and work, which includes teacher portfolios, student work samples, videotapes, and thorough analysis of the candidates’ classroom teaching and student learning. Teachers also complete a series of written exercises that probe the depth of their subject-matter knowledge and their understanding of how to teach that material to students.
These teachers join more than 4,000 teachers nationwide who were certified in 2014. Certification is valid for 10 years, after which a teacher may complete the renewal process. Maryland has 2,760 teachers who are nationally certified and is one of the top 10 states with the highest participation in the certification process.
By achieving National Board Certification, Charles County teachers are eligible for a stipend added to their annual salary as long as they maintain their National Board Certification status. Only teachers with a standard or advanced professional certificate who have a minimum of three years successful teaching experience are eligible to apply for National Board Certification. Information about the application process is available on the NBPTS website at www.nbpts.org.
Charles County Public Schools provides 26,500 students in grades prekindergarten through 12 with an academically challenging education. Located in Southern Maryland, Charles County Public Schools has 36 schools that offer a technologically advanced, progressive and high quality education that builds character, equips for leadership and prepares students for life, careers and higher education.
The Charles County public school system does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age or disability in its programs, activities or employment practices. For inquiries, please contact Dr. Patricia Vaira, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 Coordinator (students) or Pamela K. Murphy, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 coordinator (employees/ adults), at Charles County Public Schools, Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building, P.O. Box 2770, La Plata, MD 20646; 301-932-6610/301-870-3814. For special accommodations call 301-934-7230 or TDD 1-800-735-2258 two weeks prior to the event.