For Immediate Release - September 12, 2000
Education Policy Advisor
(Helena)--- Governor Marc Racicot will recognize nine Montana educators who have recently completed a series of rigorous performance assessments to become National Board Certified by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards at a reception scheduled for September 18, 2000 at 4:00 pm in the Governor's Office.
The following teachers will be honored: Curt Prchal, a high school teacher from Billings; Melinda Bollinger, a middle school teacher from Great Falls; Paul Swenson, a high school teacher from Billings; Charles Swarm, a high school teacher from Billings; Richard Jones, a high school teacher from Billings; Eileen Sheehy, a high school teacher from Billings; Valerie Samson, an elementary school teacher Kalispell; Shawn Christiaens, a middle school teacher from Kevin; and Charla Bunker, an elementary school teacher from Great Falls.
In addition to the Governor's presentations to the seven candidates, Superintendent of Public Instruction, Nancy Keenan, will be presenting $2000 salary stipends to six National Board Certified teachers who currently teach in Montana. Funding for these stipends was approved by the 1999 Legislature.
National Board Certified teachers who will receive the stipends are: Margaret Bowles, an elementary school teacher from Townsend; Detlef Johl, an elementary school teacher from Helena; Wade Nelson, a high school teacher from Thompson Falls; Jennifer Royall, a middle school teacher from Bozeman; Carol Wadman, an elementary school teacher from Roundup; and Bruce Whearty, a middle school teacher from Roundup.
National Board Certification is granted to teachers who successfully complete a series of portfolio and assessment exercises over a six to nine month period. Simply completing the certification process requires teachers to demonstrate a high level of expertise through written and video evidence, and successfully becoming National Board certified represents the highest achievement an American teacher can earn. Just over 40 percent of National Board Certification candidates actually achieve the certification status.
Governor Racicot said, "Montana's nine candidates for National Board Certification, as well as the six National Board Certified Teachers who are receiving stipends, are true professionals who are concerned about the quality of their daily efforts. Such leadership and dedication is the key to providing all Montana children with an unparalleled system of education."
During the 1999 Legislative Session, Governor Racicot proposed state budget legislation which provided the professional salary incentives of $2,000 per year to Montana teachers who are National Board Certified. "These funds are a small price to pay for the many benefits that Montana students gain from teachers who have demonstrated that they are truly accomplished and effective practitioners of their profession," stated Racicot. Twenty-seven other states have passed similar legislation, some of which have provided National Board Certified teachers with salary enhancements of over $10,000 per year.
Joining Governor Racicot and Superintendent Keenan in honoring the teachers will be school administrators, school board members, and representatives from several statewide education organizations. The nine candidates are expected to receive their scores in early November.