WEST LAFAYETTE -- Teaching excellence in the Ridgewood School District has taken a major step forward following the announcement by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards that Kimberly Brugger, a math teacher at Ridgewood Middle School has achieved National Board Certification in 2009.

An "extraordinary group," is how U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan referred to this year's class of National Board Certified Teachers. He said teachers and school counselors who have achieved National Board Certification this year have "demonstrated a commitment of taking their teaching practice to an entirely different level," adding, "these amazing leaders."

A voluntary assessment program designed to develop, recognize and retain accomplished teachers, National Board Certification is achieved through a performance-based assessment that typically takes one to three years to complete. While state licensing systems set basic requirements to teach in each state, NBCTs have successfully demonstrated advanced teaching knowledge, skills and practices.

"National Board Certification is a growing education reform movement that is reshaping American educators," said Joseph A. Aguerrebere, NBPTS president and chief executive officer. "We are committed to providing school districts like Ridgewood Local Schools with high-quality teachers who have a deep knowledge of content and teaching practices to support diverse learners. I am proud that Kimberly Brugger is among the 82,000 teachers throughout the country who have achieved National Board Certification. These outstanding educators are making a positive different in the lives of students."

Last year, the highly respected National Research Council of the National Academies found students taught by National Board Certified Teachers make higher gains on achievement tests than students taught by teachers who have not applied or did not achieve certification. The study affirmed the "evidence is clear that National Board Certification distinguishes more effective teachers from less effective teachers with respect to student achievement."

The congressionally mandated report also found that National Board Certification has a positive impact on teacher retention and professional development.

National Board Certified Teachers consistently receive top teaching honors while representing about two percent of the nation's teaching population. For example:

* Four of the last nine National Teacher of the Year recipients are NBCTs.

* More than a quarter of the 2009 State Teachers of the Year are NBCTs.

* More than one-third of the recipients of the 2008 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching are NBCTs.

For more information, visit www.nbpts.org.