Susan Collins Education, National Board Certification

SHARE THIS STORY: Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on Google+

Today is December 18, 2018.

it’s NBCT balloon day in Arizona! 

It’s Eagle Scout Court of Honor for my son. 

Do these events have anything in common?

I like to think they do.

National Board Certification is the “gold standard” for the teaching profession. Achieving certification requires a teacher to present evidence of a specific set of skills, knowledge, and dispositions through seven standards and five core propositions of accomplished teaching. This evidence is presented through a series of 4 components that require written and video presentations. The teacher presents this evidence to the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.

The rank of Eagle is the pinnacle of achievement in the Boy Scouts of America. Achieving the Eagle rank requires a scout to provide evidence of a specific set of skills, knowledge, and dispositions through twelve scout laws and five qualities of an Eagle. This evidence is presented through earning merit badges, leadership responsibilities, and community service. The scout presents this evidence to a review board who scores it through the National Standards for Eagle Scouts.

As I pursued National Board certification, I received support from many sources. Teachers who were already NBCT’s shed light on my path. My family stepped in and helped with schedules, transportation, and the logistics of life. Many people cheered me on, listened to my frustration, excitement, and dried my tears.

In my son’s path to Eagle, he received support from many sources. Eagle scouts who had completed the journey shed light on his path. As his family, we stepped in to help with schedules, transportations, and the logistics of life. He had a village of people to cheer him on, listen to his frustrations, excitement and dry tears.

The journey to National Board certification started long before I registered with NBPTS. I earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music education. I sought further training to refine teaching skills and collaborated with colleagues and the community to improve student outcomes. I learned to reflect on lessons, strategies, classroom climate, childhood development, outside influences and how they impacted the learning that took place for my students. I was developing a specifics set of skills and knowledge along with a disposition to become a National Board Certified Teacher.

My son’s journey to Eagle started long before he joined the Boy Scouts of America. His grandfather was an Eagle Scout who lived the scout law and exhibited the qualities of an Eagle in his daily life. He passed that on to my son. I watched the qualities of honor, loyalty, courage, cheer, and service develop as my son welcomed his sister into our family, built friendships, served in the food pantry, packed meals for people in Honduras, worked as a member of an award-winning marching band and served and learned through active participation in his scout troop. He developed a specific set of skills and knowledge along with a disposition that has guided him on the path to earning the rank of Eagle in the Boy Scouts of America.

As an NBCT, I continue to learn and strengthen the profession of teaching. I am intentional about being part of communities of teachers who are solutions-minded, positive, and persevere to do what is best for the students in their classrooms. I lead professional development in my school, district, and state. I coach National Board candidates and pass on the light that was shed on my path by other NBCT’s.

Many Eagle Scouts are leaders in their communities and professions. They serve in civic organizations, support charities, and continue to improve the quality of their homes and communities. They are scoutmasters, merit badge counselors, and mentor future Eagle scouts.

So yes, National Board Certification and the Rank of Eagle do have a lot in common. Both require perseverance, focus, and support. Both are titles held by a select group of people and bring recognition of a specific set of knowledge, skills, and disposition to mind when attached to a person. Both are a pinnacle on a journey rather than an end in themselves.

I won’t be delivering balloons to NBCT’s today.

I will be putting the final touches on a Court of Honor to recognize the newest Eagle Scout in BSA Troop 66.

I consider both to be amazing accomplishments worthy of sharing a day.

To learn more about National Board Certification visit www.nbpts.org. To learn more about Boy Scouts and the rank of Eagle visit www.scouting.org.


Susan Collins began her teaching career in 1991 in rural Mississippi. She served in 4 different communities in central and north Mississippi as a music educator, mostly elementary general music with one year as a middle school band director. She stepped out of working full-time in the classroom for 9 years when her children were very young but never left teaching. She set up an early childhood music studio and taught music from birth to age 5 (with an adult caregiver). Susan moved to Kingman in northwest rural Arizona in 2016 where she teaches k-5 general music. Susan achieved National Board Certification in the fall of 2016, just after moving to Arizona. She has served as a 2017-18 Arizona Hope Street Group Teacher Fellow and a Candidate Support Provider for National Board Candidates. She is passionate about advocating for the needs of rural schools and ensuring that every student receives an excellent education. When she is not teaching, advocating, or writing about education issues, she is outdoors hiking, reading, and going to musical performances. She can often be found off the grid pondering her next writing piece!

Comments 4

  1. Treva Jenkins

    Susan, I really love your post and especially the connection with the Boy Scouts of America. It is very interesting; I would never have made that connection. You really laid it out quite nicely, especially when you said, “Both require perseverance, focus, and support. Both are titles held by a select group of people and bring recognition of a specific set of knowledge, skills, and disposition to mind when attached to a person.” I just achieved and received my golden balloons on the 18th as well and let me tell you Susan, it was quite a surprise!!! My wonderful principal, t https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/3cd801466902ae727df9deadedcba1bb68a0f6f1bb70469f3813cf4e30e3b44b.jpg he Superintendent, district staff and all those who have been supportive of my journey marched into my room like the welcoming committee to congratulate me. It took everything in me not to totally break down. I think I just blacked out and was too stunned to realize what was going on at the time lol. My students were so supportive and happy for me and it truly was one of the greatest days of my life. I am so proud to be a part of the NBCT family:)

    1. Susan Collins

      Treva, I’m so glad you enjoyed the post! When I looked at my posting date and realized what other events were happening on the same day, I knew what I had to write about! You are an asset to the Arizona NBCT family. I look forward to continuing on this journey with you as part of our team!

Leave a Reply to Amethyst Hinton Sainz Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *