Man earns teaching honor

Published 4:29 pm Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A math teacher with Hampton City Schools, who lives in Suffolk and formerly taught at Windsor Middle School, has become one of more than 106,000 teachers to achieve National Board Certification.

Jeremy Utt, in his fourth year at Francis W. Jones Magnet Middle School and an educator with Isle of Wight County Schools between 2006 and 2010, said achieving what the National Board calls the “highest mark of accomplishment in teaching” can take up to three years.



To earn the honor, Utt said he essentially had to submit a portfolio covering four areas: accomplishments to promote student learning, ability to teach in small-group settings, ability to teacher the whole classroom and documentation of student learning and feedback.

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“Each entry had certain specific requirements, and questions had to be answered and documents collected,” Utt said. “In addition, I had to take six mathematics exams.”

The sixth-, seventh-, and eighth-grade math teacher indicated he might not have been positioned to pursue the certification without the support of his school district.

“Hampton City Schools provides funding, working with the state, to any teachers who want to pursue National Board Certification and meets the basic requirements to begin the process,” Utt said. “It’s very expensive otherwise.”

Utt says he figured he’d give it a try, and “if successful, great — it would provide me with a great professional-development opportunity, and certainly financial benefit and career benefit. If I didn’t make it, I certainly wouldn’t have lost anything, other than a lot of time and effort.”

Utt says Hampton City School prides itself on having more board-certified teachers than any other school district in the region, though he noted that not every teacher who has gone for the designation has been successful.

Having achieved the qualification, Utt says he should be a more attractive candidate for any future teaching opportunity he decides to pursue.

It will also simply help him be a better teacher in his current job, he said.

“Every day, teachers go into classrooms with the knowledge, skills, and commitment to do work that is arguably the most complex and unpredictable that anyone does anywhere,” the National Board’s president and CEO, Ronald Thorpe, stated in a news release.

“In achieving National Board Certification, Mr. Utt has not only demonstrated the ability to advance student learning in deep and meaningful ways, he has met the profession’s definition of what it means to be accomplished.

“That is significant because only those within a profession — the practitioners — can legitimately define the key terms of the profession.”