Five National Board Fellows Begin Yearlong Effort to Advance Teaching and Learning Across the Country

The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards is proud to announce our 2019 class of National Board fellows.

The five fellows were selected from a highly competitive group of hundreds of National Board Certified Teachers (NBCTs) from across the country: Tammy Kirkland of Mississippi, Matthew Poth of Virginia, Dr. Ann Nkiruka Ifekwunigwe, also of Virginia, L. Juliana Urtubey of Nevada and Ben Lathrop of Minnesota.

“These five National Board Certified Teachers are already helping to drive student learning in their classroom and district roles. As National Board fellows, they will expand their reach beyond their local communities to help grow accomplished teaching nationally, as we work toward our goal of ensuring that every student in America has an accomplished teacher in front of their classroom,” said Peggy Brookins, NBCT, President & CEO of the National Board. “We look forward to an amazing year of innovation and collaboration as we work together to advance teaching and learning.”

Each fellow will work directly with National Board staff to build valuable competencies and expand professional connections as they become even more influential leaders in the education community. The fellows will work on teams to strengthen a range of National Board programs including communications, awareness, diversity and inclusion, and educator engagement.

Learn more about our fellows:

Dr. Ann Nkiruka Ifekwunigwe, an NBCT, is the Director of Counseling, College and Career Readiness, and Gifted Programs for Petersburg City Public Schools in Petersburg, Virginia. She previously taught elementary school for 14 years in the Los Angeles Unified School District. She currently serves as the vice-chair of the Virginia NBCT Network, and as an NBCT LEAP Grant Instructional Designer. She also served as the co-director of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards Project at UCLA, a scholar at the Carnegie Academy for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, and an Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellow in the United States Senate. Ifekwunigwe earned her doctorate degree in education as a Harvard Presidential Fellow in the Urban Superintendents Program at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education.

Tammy Kirkland has been an NBCT since 2008 and renewed her certification in 2017. She is an instructor at the School of Education and the Coordinator of the World Class Teaching Program at the University of Mississippi. At the World Class Teaching Program Ms. Kirkland strives to make National Board Certification achievable for all teachers by providing high quality candidate support to all candidates; she has developed national partnerships and collaborations that have led to the state’s first online candidate support program. Prior to her work at the University of Mississippi, Kirkland taught for 12 years in New Albany, Mississippi, where she was selected as a teacher of the year. She has served as mentor for NBCT candidates.

Ben Lathrop is an NBCT at Harding High School in St. Paul, Minnesota, where he has worked for 10 years. He currently teaches Literature and Performance and English 10. He also serves as a faculty adviser to the student newspaper at Minneapolis College, where he draws on his background in news reporting to support student journalists. He is currently mentoring a group of 10 teachers at his school who began the NBCT certification process this year.

Matthew Poth is an NBCT at Park View High School in Sterling, Virginia, where he teaches world history, geography and US/VA government. He has been a teacher for seven years. He previously served as the 2017-2018 Teacher in Residence at the Library of Congress and received a 2018-2019 Fund for Teacher Fellowship.

Juliana Urtubey is an Exceptional Needs Specialist NBCT. A native of Bogotá, Colombia, she has taught in Arizona and Nevada for the past nine years. She currently teaches 3rd-5th grade resource and inclusion at Crestwood Elementary School in Las Vegas, Nevada. Ms. Urtubey is fondly known on her campus as Ms. Earth as she initiated and leads the school’s community garden and mural program. She also serves as a teacher preparation instructor at the University of Las Vegas, Nevada, a National Council for Learning Disabilities UNDERSTOOD Teacher Fellow, a Teach Plus Fellow, a member of the Nevada Department of Education Superintendent Teacher Advisory Cabinet, and a professional learning facilitator with the Nevada National Board Professional Learning Institute. She is a Roger’s Foundation Heart of Education Winner (2018) and the recent recipient of the CPLC Esperanza Latina Teaching Award (2019).