Hopewell High School biology teacher Cynthia “Cindy” Rudolph recently earned her National Board Certification, but “it was no walk in the park,” she admitted. Although she completed the program in one year, her most trying obstacles evolved around self-evaluation. The process required Rudolph to take a video camera to class and tape her classroom interactions. She was often her own worst critic, but in the end her instruction improved, students were more engaged and her biology students have a greater understanding of science. “Sometimes as a teacher you can’t see the forest for the trees. [Evaluating] allows you to see what you could improve upon. You have to point out some of your flaws and say I could have done this and this,” said Rudolph. “I’m evaluating my practice. I can say, ‘Next time we will pour this and have this result.'” Rudolph, who also won the North Carolina Outstanding Biology Teacher Award, is one of 122 new National Board Certified Teachers (NBCT) in CMS. The certification is considered as the “gold standard” for teaching excellence and the district boasts 1,854 of its teachers having achieved this professional certification. CMS is ranked fourth nationally for the most certified teachers. The Board of Education, Interim Superintendent Hugh Hattabaugh and the Teacher Professional Development Department will honor these teachers in a ceremony on Jan. 19 from 4:15-6:30 p.m. at Mallard Creek High School, 3825 Johnston Oehler Rd. NBCT distinction is achieved by performance-based assessment and testing that takes one to three years to complete. This voluntary assessment program is designed to develop, retain and recognize accomplished teachers and to embed ongoing school improvement in that nation’s schools. NBCT must demonstrate advanced teaching knowledge, skills and practices within their given discipline. By completing the certification process, it signifies that teachers have developed and demonstrated the skills required of an accomplished education professional. For Rudolph, the certification was the credentials she needed to call herself a professional. She said she learned a lot about herself during the process and even found that students would respond better when she slowed down directions to them. She said it decreased the number of questions students asked when she gave instructions. NBCT supports 25 certification areas. Nationwide, 6,200 teachers earned their certifications last year which totals 100,000 board certified teachers. For more information about National Board Certified Teachers, go to www.nbpts.org.