Journey to National Board Certification

Caitlin Gawlowski National Board Certification, Teacher Leadership, Uncategorized

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A few weeks ago, I opened my email to see the date I have been waiting for since May – the date National Board would release the scores, December 1, 2018. I have been waiting for this date for two years, and after hyperventilating for a couple minutes, the excitement set in. This could be the year I become a National Board Certified Teacher!

I began the process of becoming a National Board Certified Teacher two years ago when I signed up for the pre-candidacy class offered by my district. I had barely heard of National Board at that point and had no idea about the certification process. My plan was to take the class, and see if I thought I could do it in a few years. Little did I know that one of my friends was also taking the class, and after the first day she talked me into going for it this year.

I will not bore you with the details of the process, which mostly consisted of reading the standards repeatedly, writing, rewriting, and more reading. I spent most of every Saturday and Sunday working on the components to make sure my evidence was clear, consistent, and convincing. I learned a lot, questioned a lot of my life decisions, and grew as an educator.

All of the reading, writing and rewriting paid off, and on December 1st I became a National Board Certified Teacher with a certificate in Early and Middle Childhood Literacy: Reading/Language Arts.


I’m not sure who was more excited about the balloon – me or my students this year.

The process is intense and requires a lot of work, but it is worth it. I hope to see you at one of the coaching Saturdays in 2019 to cheer you on while you work toward becoming a National Board certified teacher.


Caitlin was born to be a teacher, although she did not realize that teaching was her calling until she went to college. She has always loved to write, and began college with the mindset of becoming a journalist. Before beginning her freshman year of college, she changed my major to Elementary Education on a whim and has never looked back. She graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education from Arizona State University, and won the Outstanding Student Teacher Award during her student teaching experience in the Cave Creek Unified School District. Caitlin spent 9 years in the classroom teaching 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade. She became a National Board Certified Teacher in 2018, and holds a certificate in Early and Middle Childhood Literacy: Reading/Language Arts. The 2021-2022 school year marks the beginning of her 10th year teaching, where she will be working as an Academic Interventionist, and supporting other National Board candidates on their journey toward National Board certification. If she is lucky enough to have free time, you can find her traveling Arizona with her husband and son, spending time with her friends and family, taking group fitness classes, or enjoying a good book.

Comments 1

  1. Jaime Festa-Daigle

    Congratulations on the very beginning of what is a career long quest for growth and reflection! I sure hope NB helps you open new doors and opportunities to grow your practice.

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