Journey to National Board Certification

A few weeks ago, I opened my email to see the date I have been waiting for since May – the date National Board would release the scores, December 1, 2018. I have been waiting for this date for two years, and after hyperventilating for a couple minutes, the excitement set in. This could be the year I become a National Board Certified Teacher!

I began the process of becoming a National Board Certified Teacher two years ago when I signed up for the pre-candidacy class offered by my district. I had barely heard of National Board at that point and had no idea about the certification process. My plan was to take the class, and see if I thought I could do it in a few years. Little did I know that one of my friends was also taking the class, and after the first day she talked me into going for it this year.

I will not bore you with the details of the process, which mostly consisted of reading the standards repeatedly, writing, rewriting, and more reading. I spent most of every Saturday and Sunday working on the components to make sure my evidence was clear, consistent, and convincing. I learned a lot, questioned a lot of my life decisions, and grew as an educator.

All of the reading, writing and rewriting paid off, and on December 1st I became a National Board Certified Teacher with a certificate in Early and Middle Childhood Literacy: Reading/Language Arts.


I’m not sure who was more excited about the balloon – me or my students this year.

The process is intense and requires a lot of work, but it is worth it. I hope to see you at one of the coaching Saturdays in 2019 to cheer you on while you work toward becoming a National Board certified teacher.


Caitlin Gawlowski

I was born to be a teacher, although I did not realize that teaching was my calling until I began college. I have always loved to write and began college with the mindset of becoming a journalist. Before I began my freshman year of college, I changed my major to Elementary Education on a whim and have never looked back. I graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Arizona State University and won the Outstanding Student Teacher Award during my student teaching experience in the Cave Creek Unified School District.
I spent 7 years in the Washington Elementary School District teaching 2nd and 3rd grade. I became a National Board Certified Teacher in 2018, and I hold a certificate in Early and Middle Childhood Literacy: Reading/Language Arts. The 2019-2020 school year marks the beginning of my 8th year teaching, where I will be teaching 3rd grade English Language Learners, and supporting other National Board candidates on their journey toward National Board certification.
If I am lucky enough to have free time, you can find me planning my wedding, spending time with my infant son and fiancé, taking group fitness classes, or enjoying a good book.

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