CTU President among 49 Chicago teachers to receive National Board certification

Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis was among 49 Chicago public school teachers to be "pinned" upon receiving National Board certification as master teachers at a ceremony at the union's Merchandise Mart headquarters in Chicago on January 19, 2013. The 49 teachers were part of the "14th cohort" to receive the recognition since the union began its pioneering work through the CTU Quest center on the activity.

Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis (left) was among those who received their National Board Certification at the January 19, 2013 "pinning" ceremony at the CTU offices. At the podium is Lynn Cherkassky Davis, who coordinates the program at the union. CTU photo.The CTU press release follows:

49 Teachers Achieve National Board Certification Through Chicago Teachers Union Quest Center

CHICAGO—The Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) today honored the 14th cohort of Nurturing Teacher Leadership (NTL), the union’s National Board Certification professional development and candidate support program. More than 200 people packed the CTU’s Merchandise Mart headquarters for an emotional ceremony that celebrated 49 educators certified during a pinning ceremony as new National Board Certified Teachers (NBCTs) —the “gold standard” for teaching in Chicago.

“The union has long been dedicated to the National Board and its process of training and developing teachers,” said CTU President Karen GJ Lewis, NBC. “Board accreditation is something I take great pride in, and today’s honorees should feel the same, and know that they have the support of the union and our members in living out their passion and desire for a lifetime commitment to education.”

Keynote speaker, Dr. Ron Thorpe, president of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, discussed the highlights of the NTL model of professional learning and how it should be a template for candidate support programs nationwide. Thorpe also talked about his vision for teacher leadership across the United States and recognized the leadership of Lewis, who recently renewed her 10-year National Board Certificate and was among today’s honorees.

“There is no state more important to the future of the National Board than Illinois, and there is no NBCT support program that is more indicative of what we should be doing in this country than the one that’s run by the CTU.” Thorpe said.

Other speakers included Luis Soria, the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) Chief of Schools for the Midway Network and Alicia Winkler, CPS Chief of Talent. Other officials in attendance included Joe Moriarty, CPS Labor Relations Officer; Susan Ansai, CPS Director of Professional Development and Professional Learning; Nancy Schwartz, National Board for Professional Teaching Outreach Director; and Lynn Cherkasky-Davis, CTU Quest Center Coordinator.

“We are grateful to CPS leadership for their continued support of professional development through National Board Certification,” Cherkasky-Davis said. “Much of the public doesn’t realize the crucial role that teachers play in the lives of children and our collective future, and an investment in NBC and teacher enrichment is an integral part of true education reform.”

The CTU runs the rigorous program through its NTL program. The program’s mission is to increase student learning by improving the quality of teaching in CPS; to nurture teachers as leaders from within their classrooms, schools, union and district; to advance school reform initiatives; and to prepare and support teachers through NBC.

“NTL has made me a better educator by teaching me to become more reflective in my teaching practices,” said new NBCT, Ryan Peet. “It was the most challenging, but ultimately the most rewarding experience of my career.”

The Quest Center NTL program has a 94 percent National Board achievement rate—more than twice the national average.

“It is extremely important for us to maintain a sense of professionalism,” Lewis said. “What I hope that we all continue to do is to not only be strong professionals, but to be strong union teachers.”

Nurturing Teacher Leadership, established in 1997, is an 11-month program of weekly professional development and candidate support that prepares teachers for National Board for Professional Teaching Standards certification. NTL supports teachers throughout the entire certification process, providing technical, professional, intellectual and moral support. After achieving National Board Certification, opportunities are available for National Board Certified Teachers to continue their learning and to lead and support others—at a professional wage. The Chicago Teachers Union Quest Center is teachers working for teachers to improve the learning of Chicago's children.

To learn more about NTL Recruitment meetings and to register for an upcoming meeting, visit


January 20, 2013 at 10:51 AM

By: Albert Korach

President Lewis still a teacher, one of us


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