Public Education Department Offers Teacher Scholarships To Offset Costs Of Seeking National Board Certification


The New Mexico Public Education Department for the first time is offering scholarships to help public school educators obtain national certification if they so desire.

The National Board Certification Scholarships, authorized in legislation (HB102) signed by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham last spring, will cover the cost of applying for the voluntary, advanced teaching credential that goes beyond state licensure. The Legislature appropriated $500,000 for 2021 scholarships.

The certification program sets national standards for what accomplished teachers should know and be able to do across four components: content knowledge; differentiation in instruction; teaching practices and working environment, and effective and reflective practitioner.

The rigorous process costs teachers almost $2,000: a $75 registration fee followed by fees of $475 for each of the four components.

“When a New Mexico teacher earns this distinguished credential, our children, our communities and our state benefit,” PED Secretary Ryan Stewart said. “Becoming a National Board Certified teacher is a huge amount of work. We can’t do that work for them, but we can and we are eliminating the burden of cost.”

Students who have a National Board Certified Teacher make learning gains equivalent to an extra month in school, according to the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.

They also outperform other students on achievement tests, and the positive effect is even greater among minority students, according to that research.

Teachers benefit from the credential as well. They can move to a higher (Level 3) licensure level without having to complete a dossier or a master’s degree. They also receive a salary differential of about $6,800 approved by the New Mexico Legislature.

The scholarship application, available here, must be submitted before Jan. 15. So far, 25 teachers have applied. An evaluation committee is reviewing applications in the order in which they are received and will notify all applicants whether they have received funding.

To apply, educators must meet these qualifications:

●      Be a New Mexico resident;

●      Hold a valid Level 2 or higher New Mexico teaching license;

●      Be currently teaching in a New Mexico public school or public charter school;

●      Submit a reference letter from your school principal along with your application;

●      Submit a completed application to the Public Education Department.

As of 2019, 1,276 New Mexico teachers had earned National Board Certification since 1995. Those teachers are members of the NM National Board Certified Teachers Network, which will hold its annual conference, virtually this year, on Oct. 23-24. Registration, which is open to all educators, is available here.