Hope High School English teacher Courtney Howard is among five finalists nationwide under consideration for the 2019 National Association for Alternative Certification Outstanding New Educator Award.
The winner of the prestigious honor will be selected in mid-December and announced nationally at the NAAC Annual Conference in Washington, D.C., in March.
“I am very surprised that something came out of it and humbled to be considered,” Howard said of the nomination. “I was made aware that I was a finalist over the past weekend. I’m honestly not the type that likes a lot of attention, so it’s a new experience.”
“The video should successfully portray the candidate’s teaching skills, the student’s level of engagement, and the learning environment,” the nomination guidelines state.
Howard is a 2012 graduate of Kansas State University with a B.S. degree in psychology. She teaches ninth grade English, AP English, and English Composition at Hope High School, and is the faculty advisor to the HHS Student Council, which is responsible for homecoming activities, fall and spring blood drives, Mr./Miss HHS Pageant-Talent Contest, powderpuff football, prom, and spring honors banquet.
“I live in Hope with my husband and our seven-month old son, Finlee; and, our two Australian shepherds, Gracie and Savanah,” Howard said.
Howard is in her third year as a faculty member at HHS, having been nominated for the NAAC recognition by Chris Collier, director of organizational development, for the Arkansas Teacher Corps.
Nominations must be submitted by an NAAC member, and nominees must be an intern, alternative certification candidate or have completed an alternative certification/licensure program within the year prior to their nomination. The award is among three national honors given annually by the organization.
The NAAC is a professional organization that advocates for standards-driven nontraditional educator preparation which provides effective school staffing, according to its website.
Finalists are required to submit a video demonstrating teaching interaction within a genuine classroom setting.
As a fellow of the Arkansas Teacher Corps, Howard is among a growing number of Arkansas teachers who have filled teaching vacancies, particularly in southern Arkansas, in recent years as teacher shortages have grown nationally. ATC teachers become fully certified at the conclusion of a three-year teaching fellowship.
“Our program is designed to take exceptional, motivated college graduates and help them to become great teachers,” the ATC website notes.