UH College of Education faculty becomes a National Board Certified teacher

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Helen Au, (808) 956-4949
College of Education
Posted: Dec 9, 2005

HONOLULU — Dr. Cristy Kessler, assistant professor in UH Mānoa‘s College of Education (COE) Department of Institute for Teacher Education, has recently received National Board Certification in the area of Adolescence and Young Adulthood in Social Studies-History. The certification is the highest credential in the teaching profession. Kessler is one of five people in Hawaiʻi to achieve the honor this year.

National Board Certification measures a teacher's practice against high and rigorous standards through an extensive series of performance-based assessments, which includes teaching portfolios, student work samples, videotapes or DVDs and thorough analyses of the candidate's teaching and the students' learning. The process involves written exercises that explore the depth of a candidate's subject-matter knowledge, as well as their understanding of how to teach those subjects.

The Adolescence and Young Adulthood in Social Studies-History certificate is for teachers who teach students ages 14 and up who know the full range of the school social studies-history curriculum, including U.S. history, world history, economics, geography and political science.

"Dr. Kessler‘s achievement is even more notable because it is very rare for someone in a full-time university teaching position to become a National Board Certified teacher," said Randy Hitz, College of Education Dean.

Kessler attributes her achievement to her teaching experience at University Laboratory School where she taught two world history classes for eight weeks to a tenth grade class.

When asked about her teaching philosophy, Dr. Kessler shared, "I find that my teaching philosophy is based on the passion I have for teaching. I believe it is the best profession in the world. Every day when I enter my classroom, I want my students to feel that same passion. Using the inquiry method, being a good coach, and practicing my own teaching ideas are ways that I hope I share my passion for education with my students. By teaching by example, I hope that I provide my students with the tools they need to be successful teachers."

Kessler joined the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa in 2004 and teaches and creates course content for undergraduate and graduate level courses in Introductory Education, Methods of Social Studies, Multicultural Education and the master‘s of education in teaching program. Prior to joining Manoa, Kessler served as the director of graduate studies for the department of secondary education at Towson University in Maryland.

About National Board Certification

Established in 1987, National Board Certification is administered by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) and is a symbol of professional teaching excellence. A certificate will attest that a teacher was judged by his or her peers as one who is accomplished, makes sound professional judgments about students' best interests and acts effectively on those judgments. Offered on a voluntary basis, National Board Certification complements state licensing. While state licensing systems set entry-level standards for novice teachers, National Board Certification establishes advanced standards for experienced teachers.

Certification is voluntary and open to anyone with a baccalaureate degree and three years of classroom experience in either a public or private school. It is valid for 10 years, after which a teacher must seek renewal.

Today, there are a total of 109 National Board Certified Teachers in Hawaiʻi and 47,503 National Board Certified Teachers nationwide.