The 2019-2020 National Board Fellowship Program is proud to present five fellows who will focus on growing accomplished teaching across the country.
Each fellow will have a high-impact role supporting National Board’s work to cultivate accomplished teaching throughout the United States. The fellows will build leadership skills while working on teams to strengthen a range of National Board programs including communications, awareness, and educator engagement.
Dr. Ann Nkiruka Ifekwunigwe, Virginia
Dr. Ann Nkiruka Ifekwunigwe is the Director of Counseling, College and Career Readiness, & Gifted Programs for Petersburg City Public Schools in Petersburg, VA. As a Harvard Presidential Fellow, she earned an Ed.D. in the Urban Superintendents Program at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education. Her research and dissertation focused on the development and implementation of a strategic plan for increased middle school mathematics achievement.
Before attending Harvard, Dr. Ifekwunigwe taught elementary school for 14 years in the Los Angeles Unified School District. She is a National Board Certified Teacher (twice renewed) and was the co-director of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards Project at UCLA for five years. Dr. Ifekwunigwe is an ASCD Faculty Member, has been a scholar at the Carnegie Academy for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, and has worked in the United States Senate as an Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellow.
Dr. Ifekwunigwe has been an adjunct faculty member at Pepperdine University’s Graduate School of Education and Psychology, a member of the Board of Directors of EdSource, and a founding board member of the California Alliance of African American Educators. She was a founding board member and Vice-President of the Board of Directors of the Youth Volunteer Corps of Hampton Roads, an organization dedicated to providing service and leadership opportunities for youth ages 11 to 18. Over the past eight years, Dr. Ifekwunigwe has authored or co-authored more than $7.5 million in successful grants.
In 2019, Dr. Ifekwunigwe became the Vice-Chair of the Virginia NBCT Network and an NBCT LEAP Grant Instructional Designer. As a member of the Instructional Design Team, she collaborated to create professional learning modules built on the National Board’s Five Core Propositions. She is also the Petersburg Team Leader for the Virginia is for Learners Innovation Network (VaLIN).
In addition to her doctoral degree, Dr. Ifekwunigwe holds a bachelor’s in human development from the University of California, Riverside; a master’s in education from UCLA; a master’s in administration from Pepperdine University; a master’s in education policy and management from Harvard University; an MBA from the Sloan School of Management at MIT; and an endorsement in Gifted Education from the University of Virginia.
Dr. Ifekwunigwe shares a multi-generational home with her mother and 3-year-old daughter (both named Muriel), her nephew and his family, two Great Danes, and a Min Pin who thinks he is a Great Dane. She enjoys reading, writing, traveling, learning, and spending time with family, friends, and her church community. She is honored to have been selected as a National Board Fellow, and hopes her work will result in positive outcomes for the students and teachers whose needs are the greatest.
Tammy Kirkland, Mississippi
Tammy Kirkland is an instructor at the School of Education and the Coordinator of the World Class Teaching Program (National Board Candidate Support Program) at the University of Mississippi. Mrs. Kirkland holds a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership and is a licensed administrator. She achieved National Board Certification as a Middle Childhood Generalist in 2008 and successfully renewed in 2017 and has served as mentor for National Board Candidates.
Mrs. Kirkland taught twelve years in the public school system of New Albany, Mississippi and is a previous Teacher of the Year at New Albany Elementary and New Albany City School District where she led the effort to integrate technology into the classrooms. Mrs. Kirkland’s focus with the World Class Teaching Program is to make National Board Certification achievable for all teachers by providing high quality candidate support to all candidates regardless of their location. She has developed national partnerships and collaborations that have led to the state’s first online candidate support program.
Benjamin Lathrop, Minnesota
Ben Lathrop teaches English Language Arts at Harding High School in St. Paul, Minnesota, where he has worked for ten years. He currently teaches Literature and Performance and English 10. A National Board Certified Teacher since December 2018, Mr. Lathrop is currently mentoring a group of 10 teachers at his school who began t
he certification process this year. He is committed to excellence in teaching in his own classroom and beyond. In addition to teaching English, he works part-time as faculty adviser to the student newspaper at Minneapolis College, where he draws on his background in news reporting to support student journalists. Mr. Lathrop is married and has six children, ages 9 to 14, and two cats. In his free time, he enjoys going on dates with his wife, reading, discussing theology, bicy
cling, and making music.
Matthew Poth, Virginia
Matthew Poth is a National Board Certified 9th and 12th grade teacher at Park View High School in Sterling, Virginia. He teaches World History and Geography I and US/VA Government. Poth’s accomplishments over his 7-year career include: the 2017-2018 Teacher in Residence at the Library of Congress, participated in 3 research programs through National History Day focusing on World War 1 and 2, has had articles published, and received a 2018-2019 Fund for Teacher Fellowship.
L. Juliana Urtubey, Nevada
L. Juliana Urtubey holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Bilingual General and Special Elementary Education and is a National Board Certified Teacher (ECYA Exceptional Needs Specialist, 2018). She has taught in Arizona and Nevada for the past nine years. Currently, she teaches resource at Crestwood Elementary in Downtown Las Vegas where she is warmly known as “Ms. Earth” due to her work in beautifying the school with gardens and murals. Ms. Urtubey is an 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 NvDE Superintendent Teacher Advisory Committee, 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 (NV).
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