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PVSchools Celebrates 3 New National Board Certified Teachers

Tuesday , January 05 , 2021

Nicole Speece, Denise Spenik, and Elizabeth Cook

PVSchools is proud to announce that Nicole Speece, Cactus View Elementary School; Denise Spenik, Fireside Elementary School; and Elizabeth Cook, Palomino Intermediate School; are three of the newest National Board Certified Teachers (NBCTs) in Arizona. 

National Board Certification is the highest certificate an educator can achieve in the United  States. Administered by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, Board certification is a rigorous and reflective process that requires teachers to showcase the National  Board Standards in their practice. Teachers often take up to three years of continual work to achieve certification. Research shows that students of NBCTs have improved learning outcomes. 

About Our Newest NBCTs

Nicole Speece, a kindergarten teacher at Cactus View Elementary School 

“I decided to pursue National Board Certification because I wanted to learn more about myself as an educator, improve my teaching abilities, and learn how to be more reflective in my professional decision making.  Through this two and a half year process, I was reminded of the importance of perseverance and how valuable my colleagues' support is. I learned the importance of giving myself grace, reflecting on the effectiveness of my decisions, and the flexibility of implementing adjustments to instruction to best meet the needs of all of my students. I was also reminded of the value of the partnership between myself and my students' families, which helped prepare me for the challenges of this school year. I'm grateful for this process and will forever value my growth because of this endeavor.”

This is Speece’s sixth year teaching in PVSchools. She has been an educator for 11 years. 

Speece is grateful for the support she received throughout the process. “I would like to extend a sincere thank you to everyone that supported me through this process. Without your support, I wouldn't have been able to successfully complete this accomplishment.” 

Denise Spenik, an art teacher at Fireside Elementary School 

“Personally it was a goal at this point in my career after sending both of my children off to college to challenge myself on accomplishing national certification and work with the standards required of this level of certification.  Professionally, working towards national certification by delving into the 4 components using my art curriculum and projects helped me grow to a new level as a teacher.  Incorporating the 5 propositions opened my eyes to my role as a teacher with analyzing my lessons and self reflection of myself, as well as with my students, and with the parents and community.  It goes beyond meaningful lesson planning and I constantly ask myself why and how does it help each child with what I teach in art.”

This is Spenik’s 11th year teaching art in PVSchools and her 15th year as an educator.

“I am grateful the PV district supports the NCBT program to its teachers and provides monthly support meetings with a great group of accomplished NCBT mentors,” she added.

Elizabeth Cook, a Title I reading specialist at Palomino Intermediate School

“For me becoming a National Board Certified teacher was a challenging and incredibly worthwhile achievement that has allowed me to strengthen and improve my teaching practice and become the most impactful teacher I can be. It’s a remarkable feeling to be a part of a group of educators who are dedicated to improving the quality of education for every student. 

Cook has been teaching for a total of nine and a half years, all of them in PVSchools. She also completed all of her internships and student teaching within PV as part of the iTeach program at Arizona State University. 

Cook added, “I want to extend a huge thank you to all the coaches in the pre-candidacy program and to the district for providing an amazing support system to make this journey possible!”

About NBCT

Since 1996, teachers throughout Arizona have been seeking and achieving National Board  Certification. The Arizona K12 Center provides support and resources for teachers to pursue  National Board Certification.

This year, 48 Arizona teachers achieved certification. Altogether, Arizona is home to 1,576 NBCTs with 660 teachers currently pursuing National Board Certification. According to the  National Board, there are 127,781 NBCTs across the U.S.