‘What a time to be a teacher!’ NC and Wake lead US in nationally certified teachers

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North Carolina and the Wake County school system continue to lead the nation with the most educators receiving what’s called the “gold standard for teacher excellence.”

The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards announced this week that North Carolina leads the country with 23,418 teachers who’ve completed the group’s rigorous certification process. For the 16th year in a row, Wake County leads the nation with the most nationally certified teachers of any school district at 3,113.

Of the 2,073 teachers who received national certification for the first time in the 2020-21 school year, North Carolina had the most of any state at 399. Wake County, which is North Carolina’s largest school district, had the most newly certified teachers of any district in the nation.

In addition, 1,124 North Carolina teachers renewed their certifications over the past year, the most of any state.

Fourth grade teacher Joanne Londe finishes unpacking while getting her classroom ready at North Ridge Elementary School in this 2019 file photo. Londe is among the nationally board certified teachers in the Wake County school system.
Fourth grade teacher Joanne Londe finishes unpacking while getting her classroom ready at North Ridge Elementary School in this 2019 file photo. Londe is among the nationally board certified teachers in the Wake County school system.

“What a time to be a teacher!” Peggy Brookins, president and CEO of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, said in a press release. “Even with the pandemic and other challenges, all Americans should pause to celebrate the 2,073 new National Board Certified Teachers.

“They put their teaching to the test, voluntarily challenging themselves, reflecting on their practice and confirming that they are teaching to the highest standards.”

NC pays more to certified teachers

North Carolina has historically led the U.S. in the number of nationally certified teachers, in part because it comes with a 12% annual pay boost from the state. State officials point to research showing nationally certified teachers are more effective than educators who haven’t gone through the process.

The state has kept the higher pay for national certification while dropping it in others areas such as when teachers earn master’s degrees.

It costs $1,900 in fees to get certified, and North Carolina provides low-interest loans to teachers to help them go through the process.

North Carolina accounts for 18% of the 130,630 nationally certified teachers. In addition, 23% of North Carolina’s teachers are nationally certified, the most of any state.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg has the fourth-most certified teachers of any district in the nation with 2,334 educators.

Brian Link, a social studies teacher at East Chapel Hill High School, poses for a photo after being named a finalist for 2021-22 North Carolina Teacher of the Year. Link is also a nationally board certified teacher.
Brian Link, a social studies teacher at East Chapel Hill High School, poses for a photo after being named a finalist for 2021-22 North Carolina Teacher of the Year. Link is also a nationally board certified teacher.

Chapel Hill-Carrboro, Orange County and Wake County are among a group of school districts that made the NBPTS list of nationally accomplished districts for having at least 20% of their teachers being certified.

North Carolina accounts for five of the top 10 alma maters for national board teachers: Appalachian State University at No. 1, East Carolina University at No. 2, UNC-Chapel Hill at No. 4, UNC-Greensboro at No. 6 and UNC-Charlotte at No. 8.

Go to www.nbpts.org/nbct-directory/ to view a directory of nationally certified teachers.

Go to www.ncpublicschools.org/nationalboardcertification/ for more information on how North Carolina teachers can get certified.

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