Certification Council

The Council

The Certification Council was established by the NBPTS Board of Directors to guide implementation and evaluation of National Board’s certification program. The Council evaluates, prepares and proposes policies to the Board of Directors regarding the certification program, focusing on standards and assessment development and revision.

Two of the seats on the Council are held by current members of the Board of Directors. At least one-third of the seats are held by National Board Certified Teachers (NBCTs). Appointments to the Certification Council are subject to approval by the Board of Directors.

Walter Brown, NBCT

Walter Brown, NBCT

Teacher Caddo Parish Public Schools Shreveport, Louisiana

Walter Brown, NBCT

Teacher Caddo Parish Public Schools Shreveport, Louisiana

Walter Brown is a National Board Certified Teacher in English Language Arts and current English/Language Arts Instructor at Caddo Virtual Academy, Caddo Parish Public Schools in Shreveport Louisiana. Walter earned his Master’s of Education in Secondary Education, English from Louisiana Tech University. He achieved National Board Certification in 2001, renewed his certificate in 2011 and intends to pursue renewal again. Walter served as the district liaison for the Transformation Zone in Caddo Parish. He was responsible for guiding 20 teachers in pursuit of National Board Certification. These teachers served in schools that were identified by the state and the district as serving high-poverty, at-risk students in low socioeconomic neighborhoods. Through working with his school district in this capacity, Walter was able to promote National Board Certification in low-performing schools. He has an extensive amount of experience in Standards and Assessment. Walter held a position as a National Board Assessment Writer from 2013-2014. During that term he was responsible for creating assessment tasks that would be used to assess national certification for English teachers. His skillset and experience in Assessment lead him to serve on the Louisiana Item Analysis and Standards Alignment Committee for LEAP 2025. In 2005-2006 Walter Brown became a BellSouth $25,000 Grant Recipient and Grant Manager responsible for increasing the number of National Board Certified Teachers in Caddo Pariah schools. As past President and current Transformational Leadership Support Chairperson of the Louisiana NBCT Network, Walter received Spotlight recognition in September, 2020.

Maria E. Hyler

Maria E. Hyler

Deputy Director/Senior Researcher Learning Policy Institute Washington, D.C.

Maria E. Hyler

Deputy Director/Senior Researcher Learning Policy Institute Washington, D.C.

Maria E. Hyler serves as the Deputy Director of the Learning Policy Institute (LPI)’s Washington, D.C. office. She co-leads LPI’s Educator Quality team and directs the Educator Preparation Laboratory (EdPrepLab), LPI’s center on teacher and leader preparation for deeper learning and equity.

Prior to taking her position at LPI, Hyler served as an Assistant Professor of Teacher Preparation and Professional Development in the Department of Teaching and Learning, Policy and Leadership at the University of Maryland, College Park. She began her career teaching 10th and 11th graders in Belmont, CA where she achieved National Board Certification in Adolescent Young Adult English Language Arts in 2000. That same year she left her classroom to pursue her doctoral studies.

Hyler received a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from Stanford University, an M.Ed. with a teaching credential from Harvard Graduate School of Education, and a dual degree in English and Africana Studies from Wellesley College.

Mark Ellis, NBCT

Mark Ellis, NBCT

Professor of Education California State University Fullerton, CA

Mark Ellis, NBCT

Professor of Education California State University Fullerton, CA

Mark Ellis is a National Board Certified Teacher in Early Adolescence/Mathematics and current Professor of Education at California State University, Fullerton. Prior to entering higher education, he taught mathematics in grades 6-12 in northern California public schools for six years. Mark earned his Ph.D. in Education from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill with an emphasis on mathematics teacher education. He achieved National Board Certification in 1999. One of Mark Ellis’ earliest grants were from the National Board which helped create the Professional Teaching Development Center at CSU Fullerton (now called the Center for Maximizing Teacher Impact) offering candidate scholarships and support. Upon the completion of the grant, candidate support efforts sustained through local funding. He recently served as co-chair of the Standards Development Handbook Revisions Committee for National Board. Mark Ellis served as an elected member of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) Board of Directors, and he was named Distinguished Faculty for the CSU Fullerton College of Education in 2018.

Tonia Holmes-Sutton, NBCT

Tonia Holmes-Sutton, NBCT

Council Co-Chair Public Education Foundation Las Vegas, NV

Tonia Holmes-Sutton, NBCT

Council Co-Chair Public Education Foundation Las Vegas, NV

Tonia Holmes-Sutton, Ed.D. is leading the way in education advocacy in southern Nevada. Tonia is a National Board Certified Teacher (Early Childhood Generalist) serving children, families, and educators across the country.

Her primary service and support has been to children and families of high-needs communities within the Las Vegas Valley. Locally, Holmes-Sutton serves as the Nevada Interim State Director for Teach Plus.

More globally, Holmes-Sutton served as a former Governor-appointed member on the Nevada State Board of Education. In addition to serving as a Board Director for WestEd, she is also a member of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards Board of Directors and a founding member of the National Network of Accomplished Minoritized Educators. Tonia is committed to excellence in service through education; continuing a family legacy that dates back to the late 1800s when her family established the first school for Blacks in Shelby County School District, Tennessee.

A passionate and committed educational advocate, Tonia is a proponent of professional learning communities, and teaching and family partnerships; advocating for families to engage as full partners in their children’s education to increase student learning and achievement. She has participated in professional staff development as a national consultant and as a presenter at district, state, and national conferences. Holmes-Sutton is the co-author of Parent and Family Engagement: The Missing Piece in Urban Education Reform, a policy brief for The Lincy Institute at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Her dissertation research entitled, Community Perspectives on Black Parent Engagement in West Las Vegas, Before and After Desegregation: A Case Study examines community perspectives concerning Black parent engagement in West Las Vegas before and after school desegregation efforts in Clark County, Nevada.

Tonia earned her Master’s Degree in Special Education in 2004 and her doctorate in Educational Leadership in 2012,

As a military daughter, Tonia has lived in several states throughout the country, as well as overseas. She has made Las Vegas, Nevada home with her husband, Walter, and their daughter Brittany Danielle. Tonia also has six ‘forever’ children that she has cared for throughout recent years who reside in Nevada, Germany, Spain, and Serbia.

Ambereen Khan-Baker, NBCT

Ambereen Khan-Baker, NBCT

Senior Policy/Program Specialist National Education Association Washington, DC

Ambereen Khan-Baker, NBCT

Senior Policy/Program Specialist National Education Association Washington, DC

Ambereen Khan-Baker, NBCT: Ambereen Khan-Baker is a renewed National Board Certified Teacher in AYA/ELA and has a Bachelors Degree in Secondary Education and Literature from American University and a Masters Degree in Writing from Johns Hopkins University.  With fourteen years of classroom experience as an English teacher, Ambereen serves as a Senior Policy/Program Specialist in the Teacher Quality department at the National Education Association, supporting affiliates with candidate support for National Board candidates, micro-credentials,  and professional supports for early career educators.

Suzanne Lane

Suzanne Lane

Professor of Research Methodology School of Education, University of Pittsburgh Pittsburgh, PA

Suzanne Lane

Professor of Research Methodology School of Education, University of Pittsburgh Pittsburgh, PA

Suzanne Lane is a Professor of Research Methodology in the School of Education at the University of Pittsburgh.  Her scholarly interests are in educational measurement and testing, with a focus on design, technical, validity and policy issues in large-scale testing, including performance-based assessments. She has published in the Journal of Educational Measurement, Applied Measurement in Education, Educational Assessment, and Educational Measurement: Issues and Practice.  She is a co-editor of the Handbook of Test Development, 2nd edition. She was the President of NCME (2003-2004), Vice President of Division D-AERA (2000-2002), member of the Joint Committee for revising the Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing (1993-1999). Suzanne served on the Editorial Boards for the Journal of Educational Measurement, Applied Measurement in Education, Educational Assessment, Educational Researcher, and Educational Measurement: Issues and Practice. She sat on technical advisory boards for ETS, The College Board, PARCC, NCSC Alternate Assessment Consortium, AICPA, ABIM, PSI, NBPTS, and state assessment and accountability systems. Suzanne has served as a member of the Technical Advisory Group (TAG) for NBTS since 2014.

Dat Le, NBCT

Dat Le, NBCT

Council Co-Chair Science Supervisor Arlington Public Schools Arlington, VA

Dat Le, NBCT

Council Co-Chair Science Supervisor Arlington Public Schools Arlington, VA

As Science Supervisor for Arlington Public Schools, Dat Le oversees the science program for a school division with over 27,000 students. Prior to this position, Dat taught middle and high school science.  During his teaching career, Dat has received several teaching awards, including the Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching (PAEMST).

Dat has served on numerous standards committees at the district, state and national level. This includes serving on the Virginia Standards of Learning Assessment Science Content Review Committee. He also served on the Science Standards Advisory Committee for the College Board which created the Science College Board Standards for College Success, 2009 edition. In 2012, Dat served as the co-chair for the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) Science Committee which developed the National Board Science Standards, Third Edition. In 2015, Dat served on the committee responsible for updating What Teachers Should Know and Be Able to Do, second edition. Most recently, Dat served on the standards committee that created the Educators Rising Standards, 2016 edition.

Dat has been an adjunct professor at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and George Mason University, where he taught courses in educational statistics, research design and methodology.  In addition to being a reviewer for several textbook publishers, Dat has also led national workshops and presentations on the teaching and learning of science.

Dat has a B.S. in Biology from the University of Mary Washington, an M.Ed. in Administration and Supervision from Virginia Commonwealth University, and a Ph.D. in Educational Research and Evaluation from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. He is also a National Board Certified Teacher.

Rodrigo Rodriguez-Tovar, NBCT

Rodrigo Rodriguez-Tovar, NBCT

Bilingual Literacy Coach Austin Independent School District Austin, TX

Rodrigo Rodriguez-Tovar, NBCT

Bilingual Literacy Coach Austin Independent School District Austin, TX

Rodrigo Rodríguez-Tovar is a Bilingual Literacy Coach for the Austin Independent School District. He holds a master’s degree in education with an emphasis in Teaching and Learning styles from the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education (ITESM) and earned National Board Certification as a Middle Childhood/Generalist. Mr. Rodríguez-Tovar possesses his teaching certificate from the state of Texas with endorsements in Bilingual (Spanish), General, and Gifted Education. He is an advocate for Great Public Schools and serves as a facilitator/mentor for educators who are perusing their National Board Certification. As a former National Board Fellow, he is committed to sharing valuable competencies with other educators to strengthen and improve the teaching profession with the goal of providing students with high-quality instruction by an accomplished teacher, in order to ensure that students thrive and are able to fulfill their promise. Mr. Rodríguez- Tovar has served as a facilitator for the National Board Candidacy Program. He has been a National Trainer/Cadre-Presenter for the National Education Association, with the English Learners (ELs) covering many topics, i.e., Advocacy for English Language Learners, Assessments for ELs, Standards- Based Instruction and Lesson Development for ELs, Second Language Acquisition, and Issues of Equity and Culture.

Saroja Warner, NBCT, Ph.D.

Saroja Warner, NBCT, Ph.D.

Director, Talent Development and Diversity WestEd Washington, DC

Saroja Warner, NBCT, Ph.D.

Director, Talent Development and Diversity WestEd Washington, DC

Saroja Warner, NBCT, Ph.D., is a nationally recognized expert in educator workforce initiatives and culturally responsive teaching, leading and school cultures. She currently serves as the Director for Talent Development and Diversity at WestEd. In this role she provides strategic leadership for WestEd’s technical assistance, research and policy work with state education agencies, district leaders and school-based educators focused on developing and retaining an effective, culturally responsive, and racially and linguistically diverse educator workforce and increasing educators’ and leaders’ use of policies and practices that promote successful and equitable learning outcomes for each student. Dr. Warner has also served as co-director of two Comprehensive Centers, federally funded education services centers, run by WestEd serving states in the mid-Atlantic and northeast regions of the U.S. Prior to joining the WestEd team she was the Director of Teacher Workforce Initiatives at the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). There she led several national initiatives including the Network for Transforming Educator Preparation (NTEP) and the Diverse and Learner-Ready Teachers Initiative (DLRT). Prior to that she served as the Chief for Educator Preparation Program Approval at the Maryland State Department of Education and as Senior Director for Performance, Measurement and Research at the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE). Dr. Warner started her career as a high school social studies teacher, earning her National Board Certification in Social Studies-History/Adolescence and Young Adulthood in 2004 and renewing that certification in 2014. She also serves as faculty in the graduate teacher preparation program at the University of Maryland, College Park since 2008, teaching in the very program that prepared her to be a teacher and where she earned her doctorate, to support the development of tomorrow’s culturally responsive teachers.