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CCS teachers achieve National Board Certification

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Managing Editor

Teachers Dakota Bromley of Jemison High and Jamie O’Neal of Jemison Elementary were recognized at a recent Chilton County Board of Education meeting for completing their National Board Certification.

Completing the certification from the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards after completing a state certification is optional. Chilton County Schools has only five teachers who have completed the national certification.

Bromley completed the certification for music/early adolescence through young adulthood, while third-grade teacher O’Neal completed the certification for literacy: reading-language arts/early and middle childhood.

“It was just the logical next step for me,” Bromley said.

He was also working on his education specialist degree (which is a degree level between a masters and a doctorate). He completed both in December 2019.

“I think to be a teacher you have to be a learner, and national boards is a great way for me to learn about myself as a teacher … It helped me examine what I was doing and get better at it,” Bromley said.

O’Neal completed her masters and educational specialist degrees before pursuing the National Board Certification.

“I had gotten my EdS a couple of years ago and just kept wanting to get my National Board (Certification),” O’Neal said.

She found out Dec. 12, 2020 that she had been awarded the certification.

“It does make you a better teacher, and you learn a lot about yourself,” O’Neal said.

As a part of the requirements for the national certification, teachers have to record themselves and write evaluations of their teaching. Teachers also  take a timed test for their content area.

O’Neal said her coworkers and administrators at her school gave her a lot of support that made achieving the National Board Certification possible.

Bromley said the reflection has helped him become a better band teacher.

“It forced me to think more about what I was doing,” Bromley said.

Some of the things the national board was looking at for Bromley’s content area was being able to “differentiate instruction between kids, work with individuals … progress through an instructional unit” and assessing student performance.

O’Neal said the process helped her focus on “the how and the why you teach a particular topic a certain way.”

“It is one of the most difficult things that I have done,” O’Neal said.

However, she said the process is “rewarding.”

Her content area focused a lot on teaching students to read and why it is taught the way it is.

O’Neal said her coworkers and administrators at her school gave her a lot of support that made achieving the National Board Certification possible.

Bromley said the assessment of student performance piece was challenging for his content area.

“It was a neat experience, and I am really glad I did it,” Bromley said.

He said he saw the certification as part of “being the best I can be.”

“There aren’t many band directors that have it across the state,” Bromley said.

Bromley first became interested in becoming a band teacher because of a band director he had in high school.

“Band really just changed my life because he believed in me and he pushed me, and I just want to do that for other kids,” Bromley said. “I love it too. It’s really fun.”

O’Neal said she knew from the time she was in kindergarten that she wanted to be a teacher.

Other CCS National Board Certified teachers include Jennifer Cooper in general/ early childhood, Julie Harrison in art/early and middle childhood and Brittany Yeargan in literacy: reading-language arts/early and middle childhood.