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Southern Miss Maintains High National Ranking for Producing National Board Certified Teachers

Wed, 03/31/2021 - 10:59am | By: Karelia Pitts

The National Board of Professional Teaching Standards has ranked The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) 12th in the nation and first in the state of Mississippi for producing new National Board Certified Teachers (NBCT). Since 1994, when the credential was first offered, 1,073 USM graduates have attained the highest credential in the teaching profession.

The World Class Teaching Program at USM has consistently earned the University top spots in the NBCT rankings over the years, highlighting the institution alongside other leading teacher education programs across the country. This recognition is a testament to how Southern Miss has stayed true to its founding mission as a teachers college and continued a long-standing tradition of training exemplary educators.

National Board Certification was designed to develop, retain and recognize accomplished teachers and to generate ongoing improvement in schools nationwide. As one of the first seven NBCTs in Mississippi, Robin Atwood (director of the World Class Teaching Program at USM) has personally experienced the difference this program makes. She is committed to helping other teachers improve their practice and experience one of the most transformative professional development opportunities in their careers.

“The belief that every student deserves to be taught by an accomplished teacher drives the NBCT process and motivates our team in the World Class Teaching Program at USM,” said Atwood. “We are honored to once again be recognized among the top Universities guiding and supporting teachers as they embark upon National Board Certification. As our participants connect their professional learning with classroom practice, we get to see the best teachers become even better. It’s tremendously gratifying to watch their growth and imagine all of the young lives they will impact in the classroom with the knowledge they’ve gained.”

Candidates can earn National Board Certification in 25 certificate areas by completing four components: a computer-based assessment and three portfolio entries focusing on differentiation in instruction, teaching practice and learning environment, and effective and reflective practitioner practices.

The process takes approximately one year. Upon completion, certified teachers are eligible for a $6,000 annual bonus, reimbursement of National Board fees, renewal of a Mississippi teaching license, and professional growth and leadership development, all while remaining in their classrooms.

To learn more about the World Class Teaching Program, visit For information about USM's teacher education programs and other offerings in the College of Education and Human Sciences, visit