Jeanne Kertes-Smith never stopped learning.
She was honored by the Central Kitsap School Board this month after re-certifying with the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.
Sadly, Kertes-Smith is also retiring at the end of the school year. She didn’t let that stop her from continuing her own education, however.
She began working in Central Kitsap in 1989. In 1993, she was recruited to work at Emerald Heights Elementary School by then principal David McVicker.
She has been there ever since. After receiving her board accreditation, Kertes-Smith began working as a mentor to other teachers in the district who were working to attain their own certification.
“It’s been wonderful, it really has,” Kertes-Smith said. “I’ve been lucky because I work with an incredible team.”
According to Superintendent Greg Lynch, Kertes-Smith also held a significant role in the science improvement efforts for fifth-graders at Emerald Heights.
In the past, Lynch said, the number of students meeting science standards at the school was only 50 percent. After work by Kertes-Smith and the other teachers at Emerald Heights, that number is now nearly 90 percent.
“It wasn’t me doing the science, it was the fifth grade teachers,” Kertes-Smith said. “I just helped.”
Kertes-Smith was the first teacher in Central Kitsap to become a National Board Certified teacher during the 2002-03 school year. Now, ten years later she is one of two re-certifying for the first time.
Also re-certifying this year was Jeni Zapatka, who works as a curriculum specialist in the district office. Central Kitsap School District employs around 700 teachers. Of those teachers, 57 are National Board Certified.
“We consider that an important piece as people continue on with their lifelong learning,” said district spokesman David Beil.
National Board certification is a standard by which teachers can assert that they have reached a certain level of accomplishment and ability in their profession.