Susan Collins National Board Certification, Teacher Leadership

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It happened.

We waited for two years.

We rescheduled, waited, and watched.

Then we did that some more.

A few months turned into a year, then two years.

Then it finally happened.

We celebrated.

One of my favorite events is the Celebration of Accomplished Teaching. Celebrating the dedication, sacrifice, commitment, vulnerability, and perseverance of those who achieved, renewed, or maintained National Board Certification.

I received my final scores from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards in November 2016. I had done all of my work in Mississippi, then moved to Arizona. I had worked relentlessly for three years. I video recorded, documented, wrote, edited, submitted, and retook until I FINALLY achieved.

I received an invitation from the Arizona K12 Center for Professional Development to attend the Celebration of Accomplished Teaching. A formal dinner and reception where I would be an honored guest and could bring a plus-one. I didn’t know anything about how Arizona supports and celebrates National Board Certification, but I was going.

I was NOT disappointed! I felt like I had received an academy award. It was a fantastic night and the beginning of my relationship with the Arizona K12 Center.

In a recent social media post, Donnie Dicus talks about his “year of yes.” The year that he intentionally said yes to anything that would grow and stretch him as a teacher leader (with some healthy boundaries, of course).

I listened to this post a couple of times and started meditating on my own teacher leadership journey. I did not intentionally set out to have a “year of yes” or flex my teacher leadership muscles, but that happened.

Starting in March 2016, I said yes to a new job, a move, the invitation to the celebration, becoming a Hope Street Teacher Fellow, and attending the Teacher Leadership Institute in June 2017.

Just as Donnie quoted from Robert Frost’s poem, way leads to way.

I am now a candidate support provider working with and recruiting National Board Candidates in my area. I am an active advocate and organizer for public schools. I have a professional learning network that spans geography, culture, content, and ages. I write for this incredible blog every month.

The last two years have been challenging for every person on the planet. I have seen the struggles of teachers, families, and everyone who works with children. We are starting to be able to gather together again in person. It feels AMAZING to be together again.

The wait was worth holding on to.

The celebration was fantastic.

What will your “year of yes” look like?

Here are some links for leadership opportunities :

Teacher Solutions Team

Write for Stories from School Arizona

Register for The Teacher Leadership Institute

Next year, will you be celebrating with us at the Celebration of Accomplished Teaching?

Whatever your journey looks like, celebrate it.


photo credit: https://www.facebook.com/LetsCelebrateRussellville/photos/a.977880052311537/1019933271439548


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 1

  1. Rachel Perugini

    It was such an amazing experience when I certified. (My boyfriend had so much fun he asked if I could recertify early so we could go again) It was an event that truly felt like it celebrated the best in teachers and the best parts of my career so far.

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