TUBA CITY-Constance Benally and Del Glasgow were recognized by Governor Janet Napolitano as "Master Teachers" in the State of Arizona during a small ceremony at the State Capitol Building on Aug. 20. Benally and Glasgow are teachers with the Tuba City Unified School District No.15 (TCUSD). Benally taught social studies for five years and Glasgow taught science for 20 years.
Benally and Glasgow where chosen to be a part of the Master Teacher program after each successfully completed a rigorous portfolio test demonstrating their abilities to achieve Master Teacher status. The State Master Teacher Program is similar to the National Board Certification Process to identify and certify exceptional teaching capabilities and aptitude. Both teachers have just completed the National Board Certification process and are currently awaiting results of their efforts.
At the Aug. 20 celebration in Phoenix, Gov. Napolitano gave a short but powerful speech thanking all teachers for going the extra step to help their colleagues as Master Teacher Mentors. In her speech, Napolitano discussed how Master Teacher Mentors can help new teachers and outlined how their support is crucial to keeping new teachers in the profession. There are now 69 Master Teachers in the State of Arizona. The Governor recognized Benally and Glasgow for a second year as Master Teachers. Last year they were recognized in the first-ever group of 19 Master Teachers for the State of Arizona.
The Master Teacher honorees were presented with Certificates of Achievement, signed by the Governor and State Board of Education President Dr. Karen Nicodemus. Following the award ceremony, each honoree had a photo session opportunity with Governor Napolitano. A luncheon was served at the Heard Museum, which included speeches and presentations by State officials, followed the awards ceremony.
Benally, Glasgow and the other Master Teachers are now on a journey to assist school districts, school officials and school boards in Arizona to maintain a higher number of teachers by offering new teachers the support they need to survive the "beginning teacher" phenomenon. Governor Napolitano points out that the attrition rate for new teachers in their first three years in the profession is more than 80 percent. This new teacher mentor program, hopefully, can reduce this.
A higher teacher retention rate can be accomplished through support, collaboration and the building of an infrastructure for new teachers. Key to this effort will be school official and administration support of this Arizona mentoring program. Each school district can benefit from these newly learned skills and from the mentor component provided through the K-12 Center for Education in Arizona. The Governor is a strong advocate for teachers and adamantly supports the education system in the state of Arizona.
It is hoped that programs such as the Arizona Governor Napolitano's Master Teacher Mentoring Program will be supported by school districts and help build strong teacher support systems, especially in areas that are desperate for teachers in a world of ever-increasing teacher shortages. Congratulations are therefore in order for Constance Benally and Del Glasgow for their efforts in the increasingly difficult "Profession of the Heart"-as the Governor described it-and their dedication to quality education for all the students of Arizona.