(SPRINGFIELD, Ky.) – Erica Baker, 7th and 8th grade science teacher at North Washington Elementary School, and Michelle Devine, an English/Language Arts teacher also at NWES, earned their National Board Certification, according to an announcement from Dr. J. Robin Cochran, Superintendent.
Baker is a 1996 graduate of Anderson County High School. She earned a bachelor’s degree in middle school education with a dual certification in language arts and science from Saint Catharine College. She also received a master’s degree in teacher leadership from the University of the Cumberlands. Baker taught at Washington County Middle School for two years, later transferring to NWES. She is in her fifth year in the district.
Baker said that many encouraged her to work toward national board certification instead of more college classes because the certification gives tailored professional development focused specifically on impacting the learning of students in her classroom. “This process has challenged me as an educator to be more aware of my students’ needs and find ways to overcome their unique challenges,” says Baker. The process gave me the awareness I needed to make more data driven choices so I can effectively partner with my students in their learning. More than ever, I have growth mindset for myself and hope to impart that on my students. I am constantly looking to improve my teaching practices and seeking ways to confirm that I am using best practices in my classroom. After certifying, I now have the confirmation I am an accomplished teacher.”
Devine is a 1985 graduate of Trotwood Madison High School in Dayton, Ohio. She received a Bachelor of Science in K-8 Education from Wright State University and Special Education LBD Certification K-12 from the University of Kentucky in 2001. In 2007, she received a master’s degree in education leadership studies also from the University of Kentucky. She is also a national trainer for the National Math and Science Institute (NMSI) for elementary English/Language Arts and is currently pursuing National Board Certification. She previously taught for seven years at Bloomfield Middle School, and has been with Washington County for the past 15.
Devine says she chose to pursue national board certification because she wanted to be intentional and purposeful as she planned for her professional learning. “Instead of focusing on ‘strategies’ to increase student learning like I have done in the past, I wanted to improve student learning by focusing on individual student needs, purposely analyzing and evaluating data for holes in student learning, reflecting on strength and growth areas of both myself and my students, and collaborating with shareholders,” says Devine. “I also wanted to look for ways to make an impact as a teacher leader at the district, state and national level through professional learning communities. By focusing and applying Standards for Accomplished Teaching in both the classroom and professional learning communities, I grew as a professional and developed a different mindset about my practice. It was a rigorous but fulfilling experience that I would highly recommend to all professional looking for an individualized approach to professional learning.”
“We appreciate their dedication to professional growth,” says NWES principal Amanda M. Mattingly. “They are active teacher leaders in our building and are always looking for ways to grow not only themselves but those around them. Each of them demonstrate a true love for lifelong learning. We are very fortunate to have them working with our students and value their professional accomplishments.”
Cochran said the district was very proud of Baker and Devine. “Both are model teachers that believe in continued professional learning to better their practices and in turn positively impact student achievement. We are so excited that our students are able to experience top notch instruction on a day to day level. The amount of time and level of commitment each of these ladies have shown is to be commended and is an excellent example of Commanding Excellence for All!”