National Board Recognizes District 97 for Commitment to Accomplished Teaching

The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards announced Wednesday, Dec. 18, that 11 school districts, including Oak Park Elementary School District 97, have been named National Board Accomplished Districts for their investment of resources to support advancing quality teaching through National Board Certification. These districts join 81 accomplished districts designated earlier this year in their efforts to encourage teachers to be their best and effectively drive student learning.

“Each of these districts have taken extraordinary steps to impact student learning through National Board certification. Their commitment – through financial resources and dedication to creative programming is having an impact on teachers and students and I’m proud to recognize that work,” said Peggy Brookins, a National Board Certified Teacher (NBCT) and the president and CEO of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. “When teachers achieve high standards, they impact their students and communities across the country.”

The 11 new accomplished districts will be recognized with an award for each district office and unique celebrations for local NBCTs.

This year, nine District 97 teachers have earned National Board Certification for the first time: Natalie Bauman, Juliette Friel, Jennifer Jaros, Jordan Kription, Katherine Egner, John McDowell, Keira Quintero, Noelle Parr and Megan Ragali. Two teachers—Erica Emmendorher and Deanna Otten—renewed their certification.

“I want to congratulate our new class of National Board Certified teachers on this tremendous accomplishment,” said District 97 Superintendent Carol Kelley. “Nothing is more important to student learning than teachers— what they know, what they can do, and what they believe. Their work is the heart and soul of our vision of equity and the most important factor in helping every one of our students achieve academically, socially, and emotionally.”

During the past three years, District 97 has seen its number of Board-certified teachers increase from nine to 46. Last year, the district had 20 teachers earn their certification, representing the biggest class of newly-certified teachers from any district in the state of Illinois.

Teachers going through the certification process are supported by several district cohorts, and those who earn certification receive an annual recognition as part of their contract. District 97 has also received support from the Illinois National Board Resource Center, said Carrie Kamm, the district's senior director of equity.

“The National Board Resource Center has been a critical partner in our work to create a supportive cohort model for our National Board candidates,” Kamm said. “We are grateful for their support as we have built our program.

About the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (
The founding mission of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards is to advance the quality of teaching and learning by: maintaining high and rigorous standards for what accomplished teachers should know and be able to do; providing a national voluntary system certifying teachers who meet these standards, and advocating related education reforms to integrate National Board Certification in American education and to capitalize on the expertise of National Board Certified Teachers. Recognized as the “gold standard” in teacher certification, the National Board believes higher standards for teachers means better learning for students.