Ridge Teachers Achieve National Board


Kate Ourada

Mountain Ridge has recently gained two new members of the National Board; Ms. Borchers and Ms. LaDuca. Over the course of two years, these two teachers have put in hundreds of hours to achieve something only 3% of teacher across the country have.

“ We would spend hours and hours and hours working on this. We would meet up in usually her (Ms. LaDuca’s) room and we would spend maybe 4 or 5 hours after school at least once a week and often we would meet on Saturdays and spend 6 or 7 hours working together,” Borchers said.

The road to achieve this prestigious recognition is a long and difficult one. The application has 4 parts; a test, a massive essay, a classroom video, and a portfolio entry on collaboration with community, colleagues, and students. Ms. LaDuca and Ms. Borchers spread the process out over two years, doing two parts a year.

“I was deciding if I wanted to do my PHD or this and I saw that this would be really rewarding. National Board directly impacts my classroom and my kids. When you go for your PHD, its more esoteric and numbers based and statistical, but this impacted what I did on a daily basis,” LaDuca said.

Applying for National Board is a time consuming and expensive undertaking. Ms. LaDuca was inspired by her former student, who is now a high school math teacher, to achieve it.

“My former student ended up inspiring me to go through the process and the whole time we were going through our process, she was the person who was overseeing me. It was a really fun full circle moment where I was going to her for support,” said LaDuca.

Once Ms. LaDuca decided she wanted to apply, she began reaching out to other Mountain Ridge teachers on campus. Ms. Borchers, who is coincidentally one of her closest friends, decided to work toward this with her. Both teachers agreed that companionship was very important throughout the grueling process.

“We had someone who understood what was going on and it was someone who we could talk with about it. We also had very separate journeys and we stayed in our own lanes, but we had each other to keep each other accountable and make sure we were working on it because you can’t really procrastinate on this kind of stuff, so having someone who understands is really really important.” LaDuca said.

The length of the process and the amount of work required to accomplish it meant accountability played a vital role.

“We would meet up places to ensure that we were working because it’s a really challenging thing and so it’s really easy to be like ‘I’ll just do this later,” so that was something that I personally really struggled with, I needed that accountability, and so Ms. LaDuca was a great accountability partner to make sure that I was doing the work,” reflects Borchers.

Despite the difficulty, Ms. LaDuca and Ms. Borchers found this experience to be completely worth it.

“ I’ve repeatedly said that this is the most challenging, the most overwhelming thing I’ve ever done, but its been the most inspiring. Every step of the way, it was something that I loved doing and everytime I finished any step of it, it was really exciting and rewarding,” LaDuca said  “There was never any point where I was like I don’t want to do this, but it was long hours, it was a lot of stress and anxiety, but it was 100% positive. It’s the best thing I’ve ever done in my professional career.”