Our Story

The National Board Certified Teacher (NBCT) Caucus is dedicated to elevating and advancing the professional value placed on National Board Certification (NBC) by the NEA and the education community at large.

Our Mission

The NBCT Caucus strives to give NBCTs a clear voice in NEA policy and decision-making. We work towards establishing policy positions so that we can be a resource to the NEA on teacher quality issues.

Committed to Quality Teaching Standards

The NBCT Caucus works to advance the objectives and benefits of the National Board Certified Teacher. We endeavor to advance the core principles behind certification and its teaching standards, including holistic teaching, high quality teacher preparation, and commitment to students and their learning, to name a few. This Caucus works to spotlight a broad, holistic definition of quality teaching, as compared with assessments narrowly based on student test scores. We support more well-rounded measures of teacher success.


Working through the NEA

We strive to work within the NEA to increase NBCTs' voice and influence. We seek opportunities to introduce and advance legislative initiatives supporting NBC core principles.

Elevating the Teaching Profession

We provide strong support for the certification process, which guides teachers to excel. We inspire educators to work toward becoming the best teachers they can be, thereby providing what is best for all students, and we endeavor to demonstrate to the non-education world that teaching is complicated, requires great skill - not unlike the skills required by doctors and lawyers, and is a profession worthy of being elevated in this culture.

Valued Professional Development

We’re looking to inform NEA members about National Board Certification as a valuable professional development option for the education community.


Where We Started

National Board Certification for teachers began 25 years ago. However, until recently - and except for a few local groups - there was no national organization of teachers promoting and advancing its benefits.

In 2009, the NBCT Caucus grew out of a common need to bring together teachers from across the country with an interest in promoting National Board Certification and the principles behind it within the NEA. The resulting Caucus is a grassroots network of advocates that welcomes delegates nationwide to join and take an active leadership role. The caucus agreed on the following two goals; (1) Give NBCTs a clear voice in NEA policy and decision-making and (2) Establish some policy positions so that we are a resource to the NEA on teacher quality issues.


Where We Are Today

Today, more than 97,000 teachers are National Board Certified. The NBCT Caucus serves National Board Certified Teachers (NBCTs), candidates for certification, and those interested in learning more from teachers who are putting into practice what they have learned from the certification process. We foster a community of teachers helping and mentoring teachers. This community provides teachers with greater understanding of how certification benefits and empowers them to advance their profession, certification, and teaching quality.


  • The NEA NBCT Caucus began its work during the 2009 National Education Association Representative Assembly (NEA RA), which is the primary legislative voting body of the NEA. At the NEA RA, legislation, new business items, and all other NEA actions are voted on by delegates representing state and local NEA affiliates all over the United States. Approximately 10,000 delegates gather to form the NEA RA annually, making it the largest active governing body in the US. The Assembly takes place in a different city each year.

  • Jennifer Locke, NEA Staff Member, and Keith Geiger, former NEA President and current staff member of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS), were instrumental in getting the NEA NBCT Caucus together. Both knew that many NBCTs served as delegates to the NEA RA and also that their past efforts to organize had proved challenging. To overcome this challenge, Keith, Jennifer, and a number of other helpful NBCTs set about gathering information from others interested in joining and helping to plan and promote the caucus.



  • The first NBCT Caucus meeting took place a day before the 2010 NEA RA in New Orleans. During this meeting, attendees formally elected officers, set caucus goals, and established a legislative agenda for the upcoming 2010 NEA RA. The caucus voted to push two new business items for their legislative agenda while the 2010 NEA RA was in session. 

  • An NEA media piece about National Board Certification directed toward NEA members. The piece would feature NEA leaders who are National Board Certified Teachers. The piece would also provide information about the origins and governance of National Board Certification - in particular, that teachers initiated it and would oversee it. In the past, many NEA RA delegates have had a variety of misconceptions about National Board Certification, the primary misconception being that certification is elitist and is not connected to the interests of most teachers, children, and parents. On submission, the prospective media piece became New Business Item (NBI) #47.

    • New Business Item #47

    • Moved by David Berk, California

    • Seconded by Rachel Stafford, Arizona

    • Text of Motion: A piece shall be published in existing NEA media about National Board Certification and National Board Certified Teachers who are members of the NEA. The purpose of the piece will be to inspire more NEA members to become candidates for National Board Certification, and to express the benefits of undergoing this process to both teachers and students.

    • Rationale: National Board Certification remains one of the few teaching certifications untainted by the high-stakes testing movement. Candidates must demonstrate through authentic methods that they facilitate fairness, equity, and access to learning for all students.

    • What happened: New Business Item #47 was voted down by the assembly by a very narrow margin.

    • New Business Item #48

      • Moved by David Berk, California

      • Seconded by Rachel Stafford, Arizona

      • Text of Motion: The NEA will work with state affiliates and locals to secure state and local policies and contract language that maintains, establishes, and reinstates candidate fee subsidy programs and scholarships for individuals pursuing National Board Certification.

      • Rationale: Current economic conditions have led school districts to cut support for teacher-driven professional development, while continuing to spend dollars on trendy programs. National Board Certification engages teachers in quality professional development that supports student learning.

      • What happened: New Business Item #48 was adopted in a vote by a very narrow margin. An impassioned argument in favor of this new business item by Alabama NBCT Kem Steward made a huge difference in its passage. Steward expressed the difference National Board Certification has made to her teaching and how she would not have been able to undertake the NBCT process without candidate fee subsidy support. This marked the first time an NBCT-related new business item had been approved by the NEA Representative Assembly. Also, the entire 10,000 delegate-strong NEA RA heard about why National Board Certification is important to all teachers and students - not just the few who choose to pursue certification.


  • During the 2011 NEA RA in Chicago, Maryland NBCT Doug Lea resubmitted and moved a new version of the NBCT NBI #47 that did not pass in 2010. This new NBI was supported by Rachel Stafford, Terri Vest, Ebony Kelly, and Ashley Bettas, collaborating with Doug on the talking points. Janet Stramel also asked a key point of information when the NBI was debated on the RA floor. Thanks to the hard work of these NBCTs and other NBCT Caucus delegates, the NBI passed!


  • At the 2012 NEA Representative Assembly in Washington DC, guest speaker Christy Levings, NEA Executive Board Member, presented a vision of National Board Certification for the future. She shared with the caucus the goal of incorporating National Board standards into teacher preparation programs across the country. She envisioned National Board Certification would become part of the salary schedule. Then NEA NBCT Caucus chair Dave Berk posed a question to Christy asking how NBCTs should present the process to the NEA RA, as there were mixed emotions about National Board Certification within the delegation. Christy recommended that we continue to present National Board as an excellent professional development process (not the only one).

  • Another successful event hosted by the NEA NBCT Caucus in 2012 was an evening screening of the film “Mitchell20.” Both NBCTs and non-NBCTs attended and planned to take the ideas presented back to their locals. 

    • New Business Item #36 and #38

    • During our Caucus meetings, we discussed New Business Items (NBIs) to be presented at the meeting and took positions on them. NBI 36 concerned efforts to integrate the fine arts into the STEM movement. The NBI had a $136,000 price tag. Doug Lea moved that we as a caucus take a no choice position. Ashley Bettas seconded. Discussion ensued. Many attendees gave reasons for opposition. Motion of no choice failed. We determined we would not speak to the NBI. Tim Brown presented NBI 38, which concerned ways to challenge principal abuse of teachers. The NBI had a $54,000 price tag. Tim spoke with the maker of the motion to expand the protection to include all educators. The caucus discussed the NBI’s relevance to the caucus’ mission. We agreed not to speak to that NBI.



  • At the 2013 NEA Representative Assembly in Atlanta, the NEA NBCT Caucus hosted a round table gathering to share information about National Board Certification. 

  • Topics included:

    • Involving and supporting National Board Certified Teachers at the local association level

    • Beginning your National Board Journey

    • Renewal

    • How to find money to finance your National Board Certification

    • What is National Board Certification? A look into its history

    • The Take One Option



  • At the 2014 NEA Representative Assembly in Denver, a number of NEA NBCT members participated in the Empowered Educators Day (the day immediately prior to the start of the RA).

  • At the end of the day, the NEA NBCT Caucus hosted a reception.

    • At the reception, we provided lemonade and cookies while presenters gave reports on a variety of topics.

    • Presentations included: RA 101; The TURN Caucus; and Floor Strategies.

  • At our NEA NBCT Caucus meetings, we discussed NBIs of potential concern. These included Ed TPA (the teacher preparation requirement that is somewhat similar to Take One) and Common Core.


  • The 2015 NEA RA was in Orlando, Florida. At our first meeting, Doug Lea, Chair, announced that Ron Thorpe, CEO of NBPTS passed away and asked for a moment of silence. There were 4 candidates for the NEA Executive Committee. All were invited to interview; only Shelly Moore and Eric Brown accepted our request for interviews. Ashley Bettas Alcala moved that the Caucus endorse both candidates who answered our request for interviews. That motion passed.

  • We discussed proposed amendments and NBIs. One NBI of interest was a proposal that NEA not be allowed to partner with any organization that works with testing companies. This would seriously impede the organization's ability to function. The Caucus took an oppose position. An NBI on institutional racism resulted in intense discussion on the floor.


  • At the 2019 NEA Representative Assembly in Houston, three NBI's were presented: 

    • NBI #126 states: “The NEA will work with the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards to explore the possibility of securing a reduced fee, perhaps for members participating in a cohort, as a benefit of Association Membership, for NEA members pursuing National Board certification.  It can be accomplished at NO ADDITIONAL COST!  Melissa Albright will move the NBI and speak to it. The second speaker is Angie Miyashiro.

    • NBI 132 states: “NEA will share the following information among its state affiliates on NEA.org: 1. NEA’s historic and current commitment to the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards certification process; 2. Affiliates that offer programs such as Jump Start and/or a cand I date support program as a benefit of membership and organizing opportunity; and 3. NEA members who have pursued National Board Certification, and the impact their candidacy has had on their instructional practice and Association leadership.”  It can also be accomplished at NO ADDITIONAL COST!  Annice Benamy will move the NBI and speak to it. The second speaker is Carol Bauer.

  • At our NEA NBCT Caucus meetings, we welcomed new and renewal caucus members.  We talked about revising the membership form. Our round table discussion was brief due to the time restraints by President Eskelson Garcia for the Presidential Forum.