A Benchmark for Teaching Excellence

Since 2003, the Foundation has provided more than $750,000 to support National Board certification in the Bellevue School District. This funding helped teachers cover the cost of certification and provided National Board-certified facilitators to mentor applicants through the process.

As a result, more than 400 teachers in our public schools are National Board-certified. For the 2017–18 school year, Foundation supporters will invest $30,000 to help more educators achieve the “gold standard” of teaching by supporting a National Board Certified facilitator and videography services.

The Bellevue Schools Foundation recently announced the Sherry Ladd Endowment for Teacher Development. This generous gift of $500,000 from a family Foundation, managed by Ladds’s husband and two brothers, will be used to encourage and support National Board Certification for teachers in the Bellevue School District by paying for certification costs not covered by BSD or BSF.

Ladd became a board member of the Bellevue Schools Foundation and then its Executive Director in 1995. She helped BSF raise over $17 million, making it one of the largest public school foundations in the state, before retiring in 2010. Her support of education for students and teachers will live on in her legacy of learning.

BSD currently employs over 400 National Board Certified Teachers (NBCTs) and they are making a difference in classrooms at all 29 schools in the district. According to the National Board, Bellevue ranks 20th out of all public school districts nationwide for the total number of NBCTs who have earned this distinction. The National Board recently recognized BSD as one of three districts in which more than 40% of its staff has earned certification since the inception of the National Board process.

Multiple studies have shown that the National Board Certification process makes a measurable impact on student learning, engagement and achievement, especially for struggling students. Data from Bellevue, as well as national sources, helped influence the Washington State legislature to provide bonus pay for National Board-certified teachers. Additional legislation, passed by the state in 2009, now provides no-interest loans to help cover certification fees.

We are proud to be a part of this transformational program in Washington State, a program that yields great benefit to children and youth across the state.


“National Board Certification causes teachers to be very intentional about what they do. National Board Certification Teachers (NBCTs) frame each lesson around the specific group of students they teach. Before beginning a lesson, NBCTs determine what their students can already do; what they need to learn; what instructional strategies will be used to reach all learners; what students will do to show they have met the objective; and what will be taught next to students who have mastered the objective.
NBCTs make plans to work individually with students who don’t meet the objective during the initial lesson, and re-teach using a wide range of instructional strategies and accommodations – to make sure all students succeed. By being intentional about what they teach, NBCTs are able to help diverse groups of students meet objectives and achieve academic success.”

                                                            – Melissa Slater, NBCT


We honor the Bellevue teachers who worked hard this past year to achieve this distinction. Congratulations!

Read the Washington State NBCT profile prepared by National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.