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27 Pr. George’s teachers earn National Board Certifications

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Photo by Alexis A. Goring. delphi Elementary School third-grade reading teacher Sharada Muralidharan works with her students. Muralidharan was one of 27 PGCPS teachers to earn a National Board Certification in February.

Photo by Alexis A. Goring. delphi Elementary School third-grade reading teacher Sharada Muralidharan works with her students. Muralidharan was one of 27 PGCPS teachers to earn a National Board Certification in February.

Published on: Friday, March 01, 2013

By Alexis A. Goring

It’s a rigorous process that takes teachers one to three years to complete and not everyone always makes it to finish line. But on Feb. 20, a total of 27 teachers within Prince George’s County Public Schools earned National Board Certifications.

“National Board Certification is the highest level of professional certification a teacher can receive,” said Dr. Alvin L. Crawley, interim superintendent of schools, in a press release. “It requires a great deal of time, hard work and dedication, and I commend our teachers who have achieved this honor.”

According to a press release, PGCPS ranks third in the state and 20th in the nation for its total number of teachers who have earned National Board Certification.

Todd Pozen teaches fifth-grade language arts and social studies at Whitehall Elementary in Bowie. He has been a teacher for 10 years, but it was only about three years ago when he decided to go for his National Board Certification. It was a rigorous road to success which teachers have described as “intense” and “grueling,” but Pozen insisted it was more demanding than most people can imagine.

“Grueling is not even the word because it will take everything out of you and then just keep asking for more,” said Pozen who described the certification process as “constant reflecting” on his practice as an educator with the “aim of impacting student learning” in every aspect of the job.

Pozen failed his first attempt at obtaining the certification, missing the mark by a mere two points. However, the failure taught him a life lesson.

“It inspired me to continue,” he said. “When I was considering this certification, I was kind of in a funk. I had a really, really rough year. It was tough, but my wife was very great about encouraging me. Looking back, I’m glad I did, but it was no cake walk.”

Adelphi Elementary School Principal Jane Ennis is “very excited” and “very humbled” to be the boss of National Board Certified teacher Sharada Muralidharan, who teaches reading to third graders.

“This National Board Certification is basically a confirmation of what she’s doing every day,” Ennis said. “She’s very determined, she’s very focused, she deserves this, she’s earned this.”

Ennis has a quote to describe Muralidharan’s presence at her school.

“One perfect quote for her is from Earl Nightingale and it says, ‘People with goals succeed because they know where they’re going.’ And that is Sharada,” the principal said. “She set always sets the goals and she always sets the goals and she’s consistent, she’s determined to achieve the goals and today we’re celebrating and we’ll continue to celebrate the achievement of those goals.”

Muralidharan has taught at Adelphi Elementary for 12 years and describes her entrance into education as “accidental.”

“It was an accident in a sense because I was not thinking about getting into teaching when I was in school and college too. But, I got my bachelor’s degree in economics and actually I was working at an airline company,” Muralidharan said. “I didn’t start with a passion for it, but when I went into it, I thought, ‘This is where I belong.’”

Muralidharan said most people have the wrong idea about the National Board Certification application process.

“People think it’s like scrapbooking — whatever you do, you just put it together — that’s not the portfolio we’re talking about,” she said. “We have a set of standards that we have to follow, and we work to get those standards in different areas.”

Teachers can apply for the certification in different areas of study. Muralidharan received her certification in “English as a New Language,” which she picked because she has personal experience as a second language learner.

Despite the grueling road to achieving her goal of National Board Certification, Muralidharan has no complaints.

“I love everything about the process,” she said. “I think every teacher should be going through this because it is kind of a long, difficult journey but the end is very fruitful.”

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