Barnett Berry Receives Kelly Award for Accomplished Teaching; Celebrated by Education Luminaries

On Friday April 9, Dr. Barnett Berry, research professor at the University of South Carolina and Founding Director of All4SC, was awarded the 2021 James A. Kelly Award for Advancing Accomplished Teaching by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. The award was presented during a semi-annual meeting of the NBPTS Board of Directors. Watch the replay.

“Barnett impressed me because he listened to teachers. Not everyone listened to teachers, and the knowledge and skill that they brought to their job,” said James A. Kelly, the award’s namesake and the first president of the National Board.  “He’s a friend of teaching and he respects teachers. It’s in his guts,” Kelly added. 

After Kelly spoke, guests and friends of Dr. Berry gave words of congratulations, including Linda Darling Hammond, Art Wise, and Jose Vilson, Board member for the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, who talked about the impact Dr. Berry had on his career path into teacher leadership.

“Through his efforts, and with his partnership with the NYC Department of Education they saw me in a different light through my teacher leadership, and I thank him ever so deeply for the connections that he has made for me,” Vilson said. 

Closing the ceremony, Dr. Berry said he was profoundly honored to receive the award, and credited much of his experience and advancement in pushing teacher quality to the National Board and National Board Certified Teachers. 

“The National Board, and its 34-year history, has done so much beginning with Jim and now today with Peggy Brookins, to professionalize teaching in America so that every child has access to the educational opportunity that they deserve,” Berry said. “Closing the achievement gap does not happen without closing the teaching quality gap. And the teaching quality gap does not close until our most accomplished teachers lead their profession,” he added. 


About the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (

The founding mission of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards is to advance the quality of teaching and learning by: maintaining high and rigorous standards for what accomplished teachers should know and be able to do; providing a national voluntary system certifying teachers who meet these standards, and advocating related education reforms to integrate National Board Certification in American education and to capitalize on the expertise of National Board Certified Teachers. Recognized as the “gold standard” in teacher certification, the National Board believes higher standards for teachers means better learning for students.