Ironton resident earns National Board Certification

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 14, 2005

WEST PORTSMOUTH -He's been teaching for 14 years, but for Larry Goodwin, that's no excuse to stop learning.

The Ironton resident and special needs teacher/coordinator at Washington-Nile/Northwest Alternative School received his national teaching certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS).

It is the profession's top honor, one that he earned in November.

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"It is definitely worth it," he said. "I just like that sort of thing. I have two master's degrees and I love to go to school."

The honor is a voluntary designation taking one to three years to complete, often requiring busy applicants to spend time away from their families. All told, the process of gaining the recognition requires applicants to submit numerous portfolios and complete skill assessments.

Of the nearly four million teachers in the United States, only about 40,000 hold this distinction.

Those numbers didn't discourage Goodwin. He completed the rigorous performance-based assessment in one year with a concentration in Career and Technical Education/Early Adolescence through Young Adulthood.

"I know a lot of people who've taken two or three years to complete it and still didn't pass. I got lucky," he said.

That kind of humility is just one of the many attributes that make Goodwin a great teacher, according to Portsmouth West High School Principal John Distel. He has worked with Goodwin for about seven years now.

"Larry (Goodwin) is an extraordinary teacher," Distel said. "ŠHe runs the alternative school for us right now and just does an amazing job."

Goodwin has been working with special needs children since the beginning of his career. Currently, he spends his days with the students at the one-room schoolhouse facility in the Washington-Nile district.

His reason for choosing that particular concentration was simple.

"I just really enjoy working with them," he said.

What does Goodwin's certification mean to the school district?

"This is quite an honor for us. It's a very prestigious award," Distel said. "As a result, other teachers in the district who are pursuing national certification are encouraged to keep trying. He's kindly paved the way for them."

Three Lawrence County educators have received their national certification: South Point's Sandra Mers, Chesapeake's Amy McCallister and Dawson-Bryant's Julie Bocook.