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Knapp named National Board teacher

Months of work — including essays, videos of her classroom lessons and testing — have led Brewton Elementary School first-grade teacher Heidi Knapp to become certified by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.

But the work brought her more than just recognition. It has helped launch programs like Family Math Night at the school, and it has made Knapp a better teacher, she said.

“You really have to take a long look at yourself,” she said.

Knapp, who is just the third Brewton City Schools teacher to become certified, began working toward National Board certification in March 2008. The first project she completed was a portfolio of her work — not just a showcase of classroom lessons but an analysis of what worked for her students.

She also prepared videos of her classroom lessons and projects that focused not just on her students but the entire school.

“You have to show how what you do affects students in a positive way,” she said. “Family Math Night started from this.”

Family Math Night gives parents and students a chance to work together on math projects and hands-on problems. The school has also expanded to include Family Reading Night.

National Board president Joseph Aguerrebere said board certified teachers represent just 2 percent of the nation’s teaching population.

“Like board-certified medical doctors, National Board certified teachers have met high standards through intensive study, expert evaluation, self-assessment and peer review,” he said. These outstanding educators are making a positive difference in the lives of students.”

Knapp said she hopes other teachers at Brewton Elementary will try to achieve certification.

“I really do think it made me a better teacher,” she said. “I made a lot of changes in my classroom as a result.”

Brewton City Schools Superintendent Lynn Smith said the board is proud of Knapp’s achievement.

“It’s very self-rewarding,” he said. “Everybody says, ‘I’m a better teacher because of this.’ I’m hoping Mrs. Knapp will be a cheerleader to get other folks to do it.”