New Round of National Board Certified Teachers Announced

Educators in Action

Five more teachers in Bellingham Public Schools earned National Board Certification in November 2016 following an intensive process of teaching and learning professional development. These teachers join 124 district colleagues in earning this national board-certified status.

New board-certified teachers in Bellingham Public Schools are Jami Aeschliman, Options High teacher, Molli O’Neill, 5th grade teacher Carl Cozier, and Michelle Wilhelm, GRADS Teen Parent teacher. Andrew Marshall, music teacher currently on leave and Gail Ridenour, former teacher at Birchwood and Carl Cozier, also completed the certification.

Board certification by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards requires teachers to submit a four-part portfolio and a six-exercise content and pedagogy assessment. The 10 entries document a teacher’s success in the classroom as evidenced by his or her students’ learning. The portfolio is then assessed by a national panel of peers.

Wilhelm, who works with students in the GRADS Teen Parent program, and Marshall, currently on leave in Thailand, shared their reflections on how the process deepened her work in the classroom.

Wilhelm: The biggest impact the National Boards process had on my teaching was the intentionality and analytical reflection on every decision. I now intentionally consider the whole child when making classroom decisions – their home life, their story, their culture, etc. in addition to academics. My instructional choices are then guided by my knowledge about each student and what is best for them. Additionally, engaging in the Boards allowed me to reflect on all my instructional choices and analyze how they impacted student learning and achievement. I now have a broader picture of each student, guiding my classroom culture and instruction. The Boards really encouraged me to focus in on the 3 Rs – Rigor, Relevance & Relationships, as well as the “why” as they connect to the 3Rs. Teaching to the whole child is vital to the success of a teacher’s classroom. When I focus in on the “who” as well as the “what,” students feel safe and encouraged to engage in challenging and meaningful leaning because they know that I care about who they are, as well as what they can learn.

Marshall: This process has pushed me to inquire about a student’s individual knowledge of music and their vocal mechanism. It has taught me to keep better track of their progress as an individual on their life journey as a singer, performer, or presenter. In addition, the national boards process has impressed in me that teaching is not so much about how you present your material to the class (although that is at important part of the process) but about being able to prove that your students acquired the knowledge and attained the skill of your subject.

To search for national board-certified teachers by district, or for more details about the National Board certification process, visit the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards’ website at

For more information:

NBCTs by district


National Board for Professional Teaching Standards


Photo 1: Molli O’Neill in her Carl Cozier classroom
Photo 2: GRADS teacher Michelle Wilhelm
Photo 3: Jami Aeschliman surrounded by her Options students
Photo 4: Andy Marshall with his student singers at the  International School Bangkok in Thailand

Comments (2)

  1. Dr. Andreas Hajos

    1 year ago

    two quick questions: 1. What happens when teachers’ certifications have lapsed? 2. Why are some teachers certified for 20 (twenty) years?


    • Margaret Gude

      1 year ago

      Here are the answers to your questions:

      1. What happens when a teachers’ certifications have lapsed?
      a. This is all dependent on what kind of certificate the teacher holds. Teaching certificates are issued on a tiered system where the teacher starts off with an entry level residency certificate and advances to a professional certificate. The implications of letting the certificate lapse are different depending on what level of certificate the teacher holds. That being said, the simple answer is that if a teacher does not hold a current Washington state teaching certificate, they are not allowed to teach. For National Boards, the process of becoming a National Board Certified Teacher is an option for teachers that meets the continuing education requirements for advancing in their Washington State certification. National Board Certificates are valid for a ten year period at which point teachers can choose to renew or let the certification lapse. If they let it lapse there are no penalties so long as they fulfill the continuing education requirement for their Washington State Certificate.
      2. Why are some teachers certified for 20 (twenty) years?
      a. Any teacher can be certified for 20 years, or longer, so long as they continue to complete the professional requirements of their certification. This is true for both Washington State certification and National Board Certification.

Leave a Reply

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

Comments that are personally directed, inappropriate or anonymous will not be posted.