The University of Central Oklahoma has been named one of the top alma maters in the nation of National Board Certified Teachers (NBCT), considered the highest credential in the K-12 teaching profession.

UCO is one of 50 universities on the prestigious list, according to the Office of Educational Quality and Accountability (OEQA) in Oklahoma City.

“The fact that we are on the top 50 list is a credit to the preparation that teachers receive here at UCO and the professional support provided by local schools and the OEQA,” said Bryan Duke, Ph.D., assistant dean for UCO’s College of Education and Professional Studies and director of educator preparation.

NBCTs are nationally recognized as being among the best teachers in the profession. Participation is voluntary and to earn the certification, teachers must take written assessments, submit student-work examples and agree to an analysis of teaching practices.

Several faculty and staff are NBCTs in the UCO College of Education and Professional Studies including Cindy Howard, coordinator of student teaching.

“In the process of becoming a National Board Certified Teacher, I was able to thoroughly evaluate what I did and why I did it. I learned more about what was most effective in my teaching and how to improve what was good but could be better,” Howard said.

“Once certified, I felt like I had been through a rigorous process that both enlightened me and encouraged me as an educator.”

OEQA provides scholarships and support for teachers going through the process and NBCTs going through the renewal process. Oklahoma NBCTs who certified before 2013 are entitled to a $5,000 stipend. NBCTS who certified after 2013 receive a $1,000 salary increase.

For more information about board certification, visit www.boardcertifiedteachers.org.

For more information on UCO’s College of Education and Professional Studies, visit www.uco.edu/ceps.