Giving up because something was hard was not an option for Overdale Elementary School K-5 reading and math interventionist Jennifer Davenport.
“I really had to lean on my faith as well as knowing that I would be setting a bad example for my children if I quit,” she said. “I want them to know that even when things get hard you keep pushing through until you reach your goals.
Her hard work paid dividends as Davenport is now National Board Certified in Generalist/Middle Childhood. This was the second consecutive year Davenport applied for the prestigious ranking.
“I was extremely nervous because last year I didn’t earn enough points to certify and had to retake one of the components,” she said.
Once all the coursework was complete and Davenport submitted her application, she had to wait for several months before results were released in the middle of the night.
“My family stayed up with me for moral support and we got to celebrate together,” she smiled. “It was such a sweet moment. One that I will never forget. I cried tears of joy and was in such shock when I saw I certified. Even days later I still can’t believe that the 3 year process is over. It is such a sweet relief.”
Davenport shared the great news with a group text to her family.
She decided to seek National Board Certification after hearing from other colleagues who went through the certification process that they learned so much about themselves as teachers and had become better educators as a result.
“I think that’s what we all desire, to become better at our craft,” she affirmed. “I am much more mindful of my process. I pay closer attention to how I am assessing student needs and differentiating to meet specific needs of my students.”
And she admitted the increased monetary compensation is not bad either.
“The pay increase that comes with certification was a bit of a motivator as well!” she grinned.
Davenport said the biggest challenge for her was balancing normal work responsibilities along with the new workload of seeking certification.
“Still being present and engaged with my husband and children through the process was not easy but we made it,” she said.
She has already encouraged others to begin the process. “Even though it is a lot of work and can be a stressful process, it is truly worth it,” she said.
As candidates pursue national certification, Davenport said they need to find a mentor and network with other NBCTs or those who are working towards National Board certification.
“There are Facebook groups dedicated to National Board and those groups are a wonderful community and a wealth of support,” she said. “I was able to connect with my mentor through one of the Facebook groups.”
Davenport earned a Bachelor’s degree in history at the University of Louisville and her Master of Arts in Teaching: Elementary Education at Bellarmine University.
She said she chose the field of education because she wanted to make a difference.
“I wanted to go to work every day knowing that what I did truly matters. I truly believe that we as educators are changing and shaping the future of our nation in our classrooms,” she said.