Bob Gard and Rachel Smith, both Lee’s Summit R-7 School District teachers, earned National Board Certification through the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards during December. Mr. Gard is a computer literacy teacher at Summit Lakes Middle School. Ms. Smith is a third-grade teacher at Hawthorn Hill Elementary.
National Board Certification through NBPTS is considered the “gold standard” for teaching excellence, according to officials at the national organization. To earn the certification, teachers must complete an intensive, multi-year process of standards-based performance assessment and peer review.
By the end of 2012, more than 100,000 teachers nationwide had achieved National Board Certification with approximately 5,000 earning the certification during 2012. Within Missouri, there are approximately 785 teachers who have achieved this recognition with 62 Missouri teachers earning the certification during 2012. Currently, the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District includes 10 teachers who have earned National Board Certification.
Mr. Gard began teaching at Summit Lakes Middle School in 2000 when the school opened. He previously worked for a middle school in Storm Lake, Iowa, and also spent one year with the eMINTS program. In 1995, he was named Iowa Technology Teacher of the Year and also received the Lee’s Summit R-7 Learning for Life Award in 2006.
An educator for 23 years, Mr. Gard earned bachelor’s degrees in business and secondary education, both from Buena Vista University in Iowa, and a master’s degree in teaching/instructional technology from Webster University.
Gard’s National Board Certification focus area is career and technical education.
Smith has taught at Hawthorn Hill Elementary for eight years, teaching second grade for one year before moving to third grade.
She earned her bachelor’s degree in education from William Jewell College. While participating in the University of Missouri Fellows program, Smith earned her master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from MU during her first year at Hawthorn Hill Elementary. Since receiving her master’s degree, she has earned 45 additional graduate credit hours. She also co-teaches graduate-level education classes through the district’s partnership with the University of Missouri-Kansas City. At Hawthorn Hill, Smith has been a Student Council sponsor for the past four years, and she serves as a first-year teacher mentor.
Through the National Board Certification program, Smith’s focus area is early and middle childhood/literacy: reading-language arts.
The mission of the National Board is to advance student learning and achievement by establishing the definitive standards and systems for certifying accomplished educators, providing programs and advocating policies that support excellence in teaching.