Journal Entry

Wednesday, December 1, 2004

"Birthday Poem"
You are special and sweet.
You are nice to everyone you meet.
So on your birthday here's something great.
Other than your birthday cake.
I love you!!
Written for Mommy on her birthday
By Christi Thomas, age 7 (on November 19, 2004)

What an incredible delight to walk in last Thursday night at 8:00PM after parent teacher conferences to two little girls and one big "boy" singing Happy Birthday to me! The girls made me absolutely priceless and lovely pottery - such precious pottery and made with love by sweet little girl hands! Inside Christi's card she wrote:

Dear Angela,

I know you like to cook so I made you a tea set for two. I hope you enjoy it. I worked hard on it.

Love, Christi

Who said I LIKE to cook? I cook so we don't starve. Period. (smile) But I do love to play tea party with real tea and fancy little sandwiches like Shayne and I have enjoyed in London and in Victoria, Canada too many years ago so this was indeed the perfect gift. And Shayne likes to have real tea parties with the girls too!! Something about cutting up an egg salad sandwich into four tiny pieces makes it taste even better. Thanks, girls! Mommy does not deserve you two princesses!!

While I was at conferences, my Mom watched the girls until Shayne came home. I like to keep the emails she sends after watching them as I know how special they will be one day to Christi and Shayla not to mention always treasured by me. Mom wrote: Hi Angela, Hope all went well for you at work tonight. I had a fun time with the girls. We went to visit Sister Mary Alice at the convent. They had a snack there and Sister Gertrude came in. She had a present for your birthday. The girls had fun outside; they want me to bring them back in the summer when they can take the nature walk and read about the flowers (on signs) and see flowers - not brown sticks. Christi had her new foot inserts in her backpack - said they hurt really bad. I told her it just takes a little while to get used to them, but she wasn't buying it. The girls wanted to act out a bible story for daddy when he got home, but we had trouble coming up with one that only had two characters in it. (And Shayla wanted her character to be a lady) I thought Johna and the whale would be good - Shayla could be a lady whale - but she didn't want to get swallowed by Christi. I will have to find a better story for them. Always excitement with the Thomas girls! Love, Mom

I woke up on Friday the 19th at 4:25 AM. You see this was the day that the results from the National Board Certification process were to be posted. I knew it would most likely either be the best day of my professional career thus far, or the lowest of lows - and it was also the weekend we were taking off to spend with the Cooks in Michigan. I checked the NBPTS website ( every twenty minutes until at 7:00 AM when the site said that the results would be posted at 9:00 AM. After what seemed like waiting an eternity, the "Congratulations - you are a National Board Certified Teacher" finally downloaded onto the computer screen. Yahoo!! I said a prayer of thanks and praise and then hit print - before the grand news disappeared or something, hee hee! Still shaking I raced off to tell my Principal. When he reached out to shake my hand and asked if I'd notified our Superintendent yet, I had to apologize because I was still shaking with such tremendous excitement. I don't think one could ever understand what this is all about unless they themselves underwent this nearly year long process trying to achieve what is often referred to as the highest honor you can achieve in teaching. This was truly a dream come true and the following is the email I sent to my close friends in education as I knew a few of them had been just as anxious waiting to learn about my results as I had been:

To my dear Education friends,

This will most likely come as a complete surprise to you, but just 24 hours before I drove Christi to the emergency room in September of 2002, I mailed off my application to attempt National Board Certification. Soon she was diagnosed with cancer and I never was able to return to the classroom that year. After years of trying to persuade others to try this process, I told myself during Christi's first year of this battle that if I ever got back in my classroom again I would apply and try for National Board Certification. (Thankfully, I was able to get all but $300.00 of the $2,300 application fee back in 2002.)

Last year I was very thankful that I was able to teach and therefore I went through this challenging and rigorous process; I submitted all of my classroom teaching videos, materials and writings last spring and completed the assessment center exercises at the testing center in early summer. With the failure rate of those who actually complete the demanding process begin 60%, only a few people knew about my efforts. (I didn't want any more stress or pressure on me; I had done enough of that myself!) Some nights last year I sat at the kitchen table at 1:00 AM with tears streaming down my face asking myself, "What in the world am I doing?" Then I'd pack up all of my materials into plastic storage containers and put them away for a couple of days. I would also find myself at school working on this at 2:00 AM when I couldn't sleep.

Regardless, I just learned this morning (on my birthday yet!) that I was indeed successful in my attempt and after contemplating doing this for many years, I am a National Board Certified Teacher. This email is to share my joy with my education friends and most importantly to say THANK YOU to those of you here on this email that have assisted me along the way and have been instrumental in helping me with my career. I will forever be grateful for sharing your educational expertise and wisdom with me as well as your friendship over the years. THANK YOU!!!!

With tremendous gratitude, joy and relief,

PS: Christi just started her 7th round of ABT chemo this morning. I couldn't have asked for a better birthday present than this. Thank you, Lord and friends!!! What blessings have flown!!

The sweet folks from Heidelberg College's Education Department sent a huge planter to me at school with a gorgeous "Congratulations" balloon that still sets on my desk despite the fact it's now losing some air. Also, the incredibly intense feelings of joy have now subsided, but yet I find I still reflect and give thanks every day for this tremendous professional dream come true. I've been so fortunate to have had the opportunity through my development to learn from wonderful Professors, to work beside amazing colleagues and to serve the finest of students and their families through my chosen profession. What joy! Thank you, Lord! The announcement was made public by NBPTS yesterday. (See press release below.)

Now the "Angela items"'s the rest of the report from the "Thomas Times" and the reason you're checking in:

The weekend spent with the Cooks was as wonderful as one could ever possibly imagine! Their home on the hill is so homey and picturesque I can't fathom why they would ever leave. Oh, something called "work" I guess! Hee hee! I spent a bit of time observing Eric while he worked on Christi's website and it was then that I once again witnessed that it's not just a few clicks to get all of the journals, pictures and links on her site to keep everyone updated on Christi's progress, but it is quite a lengthy process itself. He is so amazing!! How or why this selfless man has continued to do this for Christi's Prayer Partners for now over two years is absolutely amazing to me. He is an incredible friend. Shayne was able to head out jogging with him two days while I was blessed with the great conversation and wisdom of beautiful Alicia. They also took the girls to "Full Blast" an indoor game and water park in their hometown of Battle Creek which was out of this world. That evening Grandma Shirley Cook even babysat for the girls so that we could have a nice dinner out at a fancy restaurant which was absolutely delightful at Schuler's Restaurant - a popular and historic dining spot. The incredible and lovely Grandma Cook planned many activities for Christi and Shayla. We came back and the girls simply did not want to leave because, "We're not done yet!" You see they had not yet finished making all of the projects Shirley had arranged. We lingered at their home and hung out with Charlie for well over an hour while the girls had the time of their lives sewing purses and slippers and decorating cookies with Shirley. (Thank you, sweet Shirley and Charlie!) We know why Eric is so awesome! You two are amazing!

On Tuesday after school we drove up to Detroit to catch our flight to Phoenix, Arizona where we spent Thanksgiving with Shayne's side of the family. (Nothing like swimming on Thanksgiving Day!! Ahh!!) We stayed at Aunt V's apartment one night and at Cousin Josh's apartment the next three nights. They shuttled us around with their cars and it was great to catch up with them. I know it's particularly difficult for Shayne to be so far away from Vaunie and Josh. We were also able to spend a day with my Cousin Lora and her beautiful kids. Another highlight was on Saturday morning when Shayne and I made the strenuous hike up to the top of Camelback Mountain while Aunt V watched the girls. There's something absolutely indescribable about sitting on the top of one of the highest mountains in the Sun Valley, knowing you attempted a great physical feat and looking down upon skyscrapers far, far away in the distance. It's absolutely breathtaking and makes every step of the long, strenuous climb worth it! (Yes, days later my muscle are still aching, but it was absolutely exhilarating!) We had a lovely trip; I wish they lived closer to us and yet I'm so thankful that we were able to see them at all!! When we left Phoenix in February of 2004 I never thought we'd bring Christi back and I just couldn't shake that the entire four days of our visit. It was a very blessed Thanksgiving holiday break. We have sooooooooooooooooo much to be thankful for!!

We returned home on Sunday morning and I went back to bed for many hours. When I woke up Shayne told me that there had been an unexpected Angel. For whatever reason, I asked, "Carl?" as I flew to the computer to check on my special little cancer fighting friends and Shayne said, "Yes." I said, "No. I just checked on him right before we left and he was back from this MIBG therapy at CHOP and was doing okay. Remember, we both just emailed with Kelly recently." Shayne responded, "I know, but he's gone." That's the danger of this evil and wicked beast! Oh, how I hate this disease with all my soul and how my heart breaks for Tom and Kelly. Carl Thomas Robinson could never have had better parents. He was so blessed and so loved and touched countless lives during his hard fight for his life. Diagnosed just 8 weeks prior to Christi, we met the Robinsons when they moved into the Ronald House in NYC and they were our neighbors living beside us up there on the tenth floor for months. I just can't believe that he's only here in spirit. Like I recently read about this disease - it is lethal. Dang it! Once it starts progressing it's so resilient you just can't stop it. Carl's parents took him to the best hospitals and to the best doctors trying every treatment available for him yet he was still called Home. It's gut wrenching, absolutely sickening! There can be no greater pain than the pain experienced due to the death of a child. Our deepest sympathies to the Robinsons. Carl's body has failed him, yet his spirit will live on. I will always consider myself a proud "Carl Commando" blessed to have had the pleasure of meeting and cheering for this great little guy. Rest in peace, sweet Carl - forever four. Carcar's website is in Christi's Clubhouse.

After school on Monday, the girls' Great Aunt Marty watched them while I went to class - which was my last class until January! (And only two more courses and I will have completed ALL of the Core course requirements for my Ph.D. Yahoo! Only 5-6 more years to go I estimate. Smile.) Of course in only Aunt Marty style – she made the traditional gingerbread houses with the girls while I was in Columbus. She is so amazing!

The following is the email some relatives received from Aunt Marty the next day: Now all of you who know the energy level of our Christi and Shayla and also know the "mess" of making a gingerbread house will appreciate this:

The girls did a great job making the gingerbread houses. The hardwood floor was well broken in with tons of dropped candies and an entire bottle of "snow glitter" accidentally dumped down the front of Shayla. Sometimes when I would be working with Shayla, Christi would say. "Oh, I've just got to run around for a while." and off she would go running circles around the inside of our house. The houses turned out terrific and our next project was "dog biscuits" to serve at doggie day care. Christi and Shayla each rolled their own out and off into the oven they went as the girls wrangled Maggie and Kayla and Gus into the patio enclosure for doggie daycare registration. "Great. I'm thinking, more energetic creatures to deal with." Soon Angela arrived and we quickly tried to get the girls around which included feeding the dogs biscuits hot out of the oven, taking pictures of the gingerbread houses and boxing up the gingerbread houses for the hour long drive home. In my haste I set Shayla's boxed gingerbread house on the floor and walked away. Soon one of the girls said, "Gus is eating the gingerbread house". Sure enough there he was happily knawing the chimney off of Shayla's house. My heart nearly sank to my knees as I ran. Fortunately, we repaired the house and Shayla was real sweet about it. Oh my.....just another visit from the Thomas family. "What fun!" (By the way Jeff was hiding in the basement for most of the evening. Wonder why??)

To which my sister responded: UHHH-excuse me but the common thread on all that explosive energy seems to be the word "A-N-G-I-E"!!! I, personally, don't think I've ever had any energy. If I did ever have energy then I guess I am just too darn old now to remember ever having had it! I could really go for some now, as a matter of fact.

Thanks for the entertainment. I remember cleaning icing off of the most amazing places after the time we made houses with the Thomas girls here in 2001. I can truly envision the event and can only surmise that Angela must have got some of her energy genes from her amazing Aunt Marty who is the only person I know that can attempt such an undertaking time and time again for all of her nieces. I'm also starting to appreciate what a smart man you married!

All in jest, of course,
Love you all,

Thank you, Aunt Marty for a lovely evening and all! Tuesday was our 13th wedding anniversary. OK, didn't celebrate in a big way, in fact we didn't celebrate at all, but we are so thankful to have found soul mates in each other nearly twenty years ago when we were high school sweethearts. Now I can no longer zip my wedding gown, but not only has my waist grown - my love for my husband has grown immensely since 1991. Did you ever think you could love someone more now then on the day you married them?! I didn't, but now I know; I do!! (I do! Get it, Shayne, hee hee! I do!) Happy Anniversary, to my wonderful husband, Shayne Thomas! He may joke that I was the first person to say "yes" but without a doubt I'd say it again and again! (And because he took me up in a hot air balloon to ask me to marry him and he asked my Father's permission first, how could I say no?!) I love you, Shayne! Thank you for being the most wonderful husband and father anyone could ever dream of having!

Today, Shayne also had to be up early for a training meeting. His first words to me were, "Shane died last night." Oh, no!! Talk about a horrible way to start your day . Without a doubt, I'm a morning person, but that completely took the wind out of my sails and brought me to my knees. My hope, my inspiration, my Shane (spelled differently than my other "Shayne") gone. Unbelievable! Shane Rezmer is in Christi Clubhouse and was truly a pioneer! Having fought neuroblastoma for 10 ¼ years you know why he was our hope and inspiration! I don't know of any other person who ever fought the disease so long - nor with such spunk! Shane - a High School drum major and Michigan fan actually went off to college this fall. (Diagnosed when he was in the 3rd grade who would have ever thought he would have ever graduated from high school much less gone off to college?!) His Mom works in a middle school, and of course his name "Shane" and he loved Cedar Point so I feel such a bond that only those battling this beast every day could probably ever really understand. Regardless, the earthly world lost the finest of young gentlemen yesterday while Heaven gained a beautiful choir member - oh, heck, you know Shane..He's not singing in the Angel Chorus he's directing it!!!!! May God give his Shane's family comfort and strength to deal with the horrendously difficult times ahead. Rest in peace, awesome Shane – forever eighteen.

Today's blood counts were done at the hospital after school. Her platelets and hemoglobin were the highest in 13 months. (YES! I know it doesn't tell us anything about her cancer, but it's still GREAT news!) white 3.8, hgb. 11.4, platelets 141 with an ANC of 1600. YES! You go, girl!

REMINDER: Please consider purchasing a calendar with proceeds going to CHOP's oncology research. (This is Christi's awesome hospital!!) The order info is on the front of Christi's website. They are $15.00 and will be mailed to you directly from Philadelphia. I have a few left at a cost of $10.00. If you're interested let me know and I'll get one to you! THANKS for your continued love, support and help. We've been richly blessed!!

With deepest thanks and appreciation, Angela

Christi's Joke: What does a rain cloud sleep in? (It's THUNDERwear.)

Shayla's Funny: After parking in remote long term parking at the Detroit airport and standing out in the freezing rain while waiting for the shuttle bus to take us up to the terminal, Shayne said to the girls, "You both need to help us remember where we parked. When we get back to Detroit you'll have to help us remember YELLOW LOT." Shayla said, "Ok. I can yell a lot." Shayne said, "No, Shayla I didn't say to yell a lot; I said to remember that we're parked in the yellow lot - yellow parking lot." "Oh, I thought you said it was okay for us to yell a lot, but I didn't know why."

Another Shayla Funny: When the hunger panes hit, Shayla ran to the refrigerator on Sunday night and then with a gasp said, "It's nearly empty, Momma."

Christi's Funny: While eating a cheeseburger she looked up at me and said, "They put a lot of Sesame Street seeds on these buns." (Sesame STREET seeds, good one!)

Angela's "humor" (What else could you call something so sick!) Today I received an email that someone was using Christi Thomas's name and another sweet beautiful Neuroblastoma recent angel's pictures and made a website talking about their Christi Thomas having neuroblastoma. I do understand that the FBI is paying a visit to them soon and that the site will be shut down. And I continue to believe that the vast majority of God's people are tremendous, absolutely wonderful!

What's Next? Christi's Piano Recital on Sunday at the School of Music and she'll play a few tunes on Monday at the Michael O'Brien concert at Camden Falls. Please join us if you can! (And with this journal entry being so very lengthy, please don't worry if you don't read another entry for a very long time. Thanks for checking in to the sweet Christi Crew!)

While we're calling it "CHRISTI IN CONCERT" but it's really ALL due to Him and to Michael O'Brien's kindness and generosity - and of course to Mike Frank's insight and coordination! Michael O'Brien "Home for Christmas"


Monday, Dec. 6, 2004 @ 7:00 P.M. Camden Falls Reception and Conference Center

Tiffin, OH 44883 $10.00 General Admission fee per ticket includes complimentary copy of Michael's Christmas CD. To order tickets or for more information, please call 419-448-8867.

Persons planning to attend are urged to purchase tickets early as a sell-out is anticipated.

Hampton Inn is offering a $60 plus tax room rate for anyone attending the concert on the night of Dec. 6th.

Carmella's Italian Ristorante normally closes at 10 P.M. on Mondays. They are offering extended hours for a possible "afterglow" party.

National Board Certification:

Press Release
CONTACT: James R. Minichello/703-465-2171
(November 30, 2004)

First Seneca East Teacher to Achieve
National Board Certification®

Announcement comes on the heels of independent research proving National Board Certified Teachers® are among the best in the country

(Tiffin, Ohio) - (Mrs. Angela R. Falter Thomas) of Tiffin, OH earned her profession's top honor by achieving National Board Certification in 2004, according to the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS).

Mrs. Thomas has been a teacher and a coach for Seneca East since 1989 and holds a Bachelors degree in education from Bowling Green State University and a Masters degree in education from Heidelberg College. She is also currently a Ph.D. student at the Ohio State University (Columbus) where she is pursuing her doctorate in Teaching and Learning while majoring in middle childhood education with cognate areas of reading and language arts.

"With teacher quality serving as the benchmark in determining a student's academic success, the National Board congratulates all teachers who went through the rigorous National Board Certification process," said former Georgia Gov. Roy E. Barnes, chair of the NBPTS Board of Directors. "Angela's achievement is especially significant when you consider the powerful research released this year confirming that teachers who earn this distinction represent the gold standard in teaching and are among the most effective teachers in our nation's classrooms today."

In recent research on National Board Certified Teachers (NBCTs):

  • The CNA Corp. found that students of NBCTs did a measurably better job than other ninth and 10th graders on year-end math tests in Miami-Dade County (Fla.) Public Schools. The study of more than 100,000 student Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) records found that NBCTs are particularly effective with students who have special needs, and provides some evidence that African-American and Hispanic students may also receive extra benefits.
  • Arizona State University found that students of NBCTs outperformed their schoolmates on the Stanford 9 Achievement Test in almost 75 percent of reading, math and language arts meas­ures. On average, these results were equivalent to students spending more than an additional month in the class­room each year.
  • The University of Washington and The Urban Institute found that children learn more from NBCTs, with scores on year-end math and reading tests averaging 7 percent higher than students whose teach­ers attempted but failed to gain certification, and as much as 15 percent higher among younger and low-income students.

National Board Certification is the highest credential in the teaching profession. A voluntary process established by NBPTS, certification is achieved through a rigorous performance-based assessment that takes between one and three years to complete and measures what accomplished teachers should know and be able to do. Angela is one of 210 teachers in the state of Ohio to have earned this year's top honor.

"Through National Board Certified Teachers, states and communities are realizing the enormous benefits of using National Board Certification as a tool to attract, reward and retain highly accomplished teachers," said NBPTS President Joseph A. Aguerrebere. "It is important to understand that the National Board Certification process not only identifies accomplished teachers, but also is a profound professional development experience. This is a process that forces teachers to demonstrate how their activities, both inside and outside of the classroom, improve student achievement."

All 50 states and more than 500 school districts across the nation have implemented policies and regulations to recruit, reward and retain NBCTs. "In this environment of economic concern, the National Board is extremely grateful to the growing number of states, school districts and municipalities that support National Board Certification and the impact it has on the teaching profession and improved student learning," added Barnes.


The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards is an independent, nonprofit, nonpartisan and nongovernmental organization governed by a board of directors, the majority of whom are classroom teachers. Its mission is to establish high and rigorous standards for what accomplished teachers should know and be able to do. For more information about NBPTS, please visit

Testimonials praising NBCTs from lawmakers from across the country.

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.)

"I am very pleased to see so many Tennessee teachers and others across the country working to better themselves and their students by attaining this national certification. The importance of having highly qualified teachers is paramount to meeting our goals in education set forth by No Child Left Behind. These great teachers are improving the quality of education received by our nation's most precious resource, our children."

Sen. George Allen (R-Va.)

"Virginia's teachers are the front lines in our quest for educational success and our efforts to ensure that we always have a well informed, productive and free society. I applaud the 182 Virginia teachers who have earned their prestigious National Board Certification this year. Each one of these professional educators should be extremely proud of this achievement. It takes a special person to master the wide range of subjects taught in our schools today and to then exhibit the patience and care necessary to enlighten and inspire our young people. I am thankful for all of our nation's superb teachers and for those who have achieved this success."

Sen. Conrad Burns (R-Mont.)

"Today's children are tomorrow's leaders, and the future of our country, and of our world, depends on the education these children receive. "Our teachers take on the great responsibility of opening our children's minds and preparing them for the future. This is a big job, and those who receive the National Board Certification are clearly at the top of their class. I applaud the work of all our teachers, and would like to extend my congratulations to the this year's recipients of this great honor."

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.)

"I am so pleased that many of New York's finest teachers are being recognized for their accomplishments through National Board Certification. The success of National Board Certified Teachers plays an important role in improving academic achievement and elevating the teaching profession in schools across New York and the entire nation."

Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.)

"Teachers in Mississippi tell me that the process of becoming board certified renews their enthusiasm for teaching, improves their performance in the classroom, and helps raise the achievement levels of their students."

Sen. Mike DeWine (R-Ohio)

"The newest National Board Certified Teachers should be proud of their accomplishments. Their commitment to education translates into students that are better prepared to be the leaders of tomorrow. This certification signals a commitment to raising student achievement in classrooms across the state and the nation. A good teacher has the power to fundamentally change a child's life, and these teachers will continue to touch young lives and inspire students for a lifetime."

Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R-N.C.)

"I know how rewarding and how challenging teaching can be and what a remarkable difference a teacher can make in the life of a child. The future of North Carolina depends on our teachers - teachers with the training, authority, and freedom to challenge their students and change their lives. I am so proud of our North Carolina teachers who inspire children to believe that they can do anything, or be anything they want. I truly cannot think of a more admirable occupation. North Carolina has, and will continue to benefit from the exceptional work of its teaching professionals and I will work to see that our school systems continue to recruit - and retain - the best and brightest minds to teach our children."

Sen. Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.)

"Excellence in education is an honorable and sacred obligation that we owe all of America's youth. The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards is taking responsibility for ensuring that quality education becomes a reality for all students. I applaud all of those educators who have the courage to commit themselves to these rigorous standards; their passion for their work should be an inspiration to future generations of teachers and students."

Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa)

"I'm glad that so many Iowa teachers took advantage of the professional development opportunities offered by National Board Certification. This is an example of the deep commitment of Iowa educators to constantly improving the quality of education available to their students."

Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.)

"Board certification is an increasingly essential part of effective school reform. We know that education is the magical key that opens the garden door to the American dream for every child, and I commend the dedicated teachers from Massachusetts and communities across the country who have earned their certification this year. May their number continue to grow."

Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.)

"Congratulations to the 25 Rhode Island teachers who achieved National Board Certification this year. Student success depends in large part on the quality of the teacher in the classroom, and the commitment of these educators who rose to the challenge and met the high standards required to achieve certification is reassuring to those of us who care about the future of our state and our nation."

Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.)

"It is truly a great pleasure to congratulate the over 8,000 teachers who earned National Board Certification this year, and I would especially like to extend my congratulations to the 29 teachers in Kansas who earned this distinction. The National Board Certification process has had a tremendous impact in allowing states across the country to reward and retain highly qualified teachers. Teachers are truly the key to student success and National Board Certification allows teachers to realize their great potential. I look forward to tracking the continued success of this program."

Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.V.)

"I congratulate the West Virginia teachers who have shown such a commitment to professional excellence by earning National Board Certification. The efforts of these teachers are an inspiration, and their training translates into greater learning opportunities for our students. As a long-time supporter of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. I believe that we should reward these teachers for their time and training. That's why I've introduced the Incentives to Educate American Children Act (I TEACH), which would give Board Certified teachers a $1,000 refundable tax credit. This credit is a small thank you, but I hope that it speaks volumes about our appreciation for these teachers' efforts in working on and earning this prestigious award."

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.)

"I am very proud of the new Alabama National Board Certified Teachers and their commitment to their students. Through certification they have shown that they strive to bring out the best in their teaching so they can bring out the best in their students."

Sen. Jim Talent (R-Mo.)

"I believe that an excellent education is one of the most important things we can give to our kids. The work our teachers do in the classroom prepares America"s youth to enter the workforce, provide for their families and give back to their communities. I would like to personally congratulate each of the teachers who have worked so hard to earn the distinction of becoming National Board Certified Teachers."

Rep. Richard Burr (R-N.C.)

"It comes as no surprise that North Carolina leads the nation in the number of teachers pursuing - and attaining - National Board of Certification. With 1,675 teachers certified this year, North Carolina is another step closer to ensuring that students receive the finest education possible."

Rep. Susan A. Davis (D-Calif.)

"It is thrilling to know that more than 20,000 of America"s finest teachers put their teaching accomplishments on the line this year to seek the rigorous National Board for Professional Teaching Standards certification. Their willingness to submit their classroom skills to videotaping, self-reflective evaluation, and real-situation testing truly proves that they are 'highly qualified' teachers.

Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.)

"I am very proud of the 153 Maryland teachers who achieved certification this year. National Board Certification is one of the most significant education reforms in recent years, and it has provided a way for policy makers to recognize and reward accomplished teaching. Not only are our children learning more and performing better with now close to 500 National Board Certified Teachers across Maryland classrooms, but entire schools are benefiting from the high standards and culture of accountability set forth by the certification process. This is an important program and I will be working with my colleagues in Congress to ensure more teachers have the opportunity to experience and achieve National Board Certification."

Rep. Tom Osborne (R-Neb.)

"I am greatly appreciative of the time and effort these teachers put forth to achieve National Board Certification. The ambition displayed by these teachers to invest in their own professional development and their students' achievement is highly commendable. Congratulations to 5 teachers for receiving this distinguished honor."

Gov. Haley Barbour (R-Miss.)

"A quality teacher is the first essential ingredient to a quality education, and I am very, very proud of these 350 Mississippi teachers who have gained their National Board Certification. These teachers have reached a superior achievement and our school children will only benefit because of their success."

Gov. Jeb Bush (R-Fla.)

"I am proud Florida remains at the forefront of national teacher certification. Florida teachers play an important role in ensuring no student is left behind. By furthering our commitment to recruit and retain top quality teachers, we will ensure all Florida students have the opportunity to receive an A+ education."

Gov. Michael Easley (D-N.C.)

"Our challenge in North Carolina, like many other states, is to prepare our students to succeed in the changing economy. The first step is to provide a highly qualified teacher in every classroom. I am proud that more and more of our teachers are applying for and achieving National Board Certification."

Gov. Brad Henry (D-Okla.)

"It is no coincidence that Oklahoma, whose teachers are known for being among the best in the nation, is consistently ranked as among the top U.S. states for teachers who achieve National Board Certification. Teachers who pursue this certification have made a commitment to excellence in the classroom. That is good news for all Oklahomans -- but especially so for our children."

Gov. Janet Napolitano (D-Ariz.)

"I congratulate the 53 Arizona teachers who have earned National Board Certification this year. The children of our state will benefit from the improved quality of instruction these great teachers will bring to our classrooms. Recent research adds to the body of evidence that professional development, in this case National Board Certification, improves teacher effectiveness and therefore student achievement."

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-Calif.)

"National Board Certification is a tremendous achievement. It is not an easy process, which is why we should be proud of the teachers who received this important distinction. It shows how hard they are willing to work so that their students have the best opportunity to succeed. Attracting quality teachers in all of California's public schools continues to be a top priority of my administration."

Gov. Mark R. Warner (D-Va.)

"I couldn't be prouder of the 182 Virginia teachers who achieved National Board Certification this year. The high standards that National Board Certified Teachers have met translate into increased learning in our students, and particularly those students in low performing schools. We now have a cadre of over 700 National Board Certified Teachers in Virginia, a powerful force for strengthening the teaching profession, improving student lear