Two hundred more Kentucky teachers have achieved National Board Certification, the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) has announced, bring the state closer to its legislative goal of having at least one National Board Certified Teacher (NBCT) in every public school.

With 3,181 NBCTs overall, Kentucky ranks ninth in the nation, and only five states have more new NBCTs this year. (Click here for a list of the new NBCTs.)

“Teachers are our front line in preparing Kentucky’s students to face tomorrow’s challenges,” said Education Commissioner Terry Holliday. “This is this quite an honor for our teachers and is something that requires a lot of work on their behalf. It improves their instruction and teaching abilities and elevates them professionally. And in the end, it benefits the children they teach.”

Jefferson County Public Schools, the state’s largest district, has 52 newly certified teachers.

One standout among smaller districts was Floyd County, which has seven new NBCTs. Only Jefferson, Oldham (14) and Fayette (13) have more; Warren County also has seven.

Late in 2013, Floyd County implemented a program to help teachers through the certification process. It offers mentor support, access to more resources and professional learning opportunities, time off for preparation and financial support. Superintendent Henry Webb said he has shared information with other districts but thinks Floyd’s is still the only such program in the state.

Now, the district has nearly doubled its NBCT ranks to 16.

“We’re very happy with the outcome, very proud of those teachers,” Webb said. “The reason we do that is we believe in Floyd County that investing in our teachers’ growth as professionals is the key to academic success for our students.”

Kentucky consistently ranks in the top 10 nationally for the total number of NBCTs.

“Since its inception, Kentucky’s National Board Program, and its partnerships to support Kentucky teachers pursuing National Board Certification, has proved to be a model for many other states,” said Robert Brown, executive director of the Education Professional Standards Board (EPSB). “It is with great pleasure that I congratulate each of these educators for their extraordinary commitment to the education of Kentucky’s children and for achieving the highest credential in the teaching profession.”

Kentucky was chosen as one of six sites to participate in the U.S. Department of Education Supporting Effective Educator Development (SEED) grant. The Kentucky Education Association (KEA), the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE), and the EPSB are working together to expand the number of NBCTs across the state.

A recent survey of NBCTs showed that 54 percent have served or are working as team leaders, 36 percent as department chairs and 15 percent as staff developers or instructional coaches. Forty-three percent of NBCTs have led efforts to implement the Common Core State Standards in their schools, districts and states, while the same percentage have been involved in leading the implementation of teacher evaluation systems through peer review or observation. More than three out of four NBCTs have led professional development efforts in their schools.