Spotlight on: Angela Holdren

Angela Holdren
Angela Holdren

Congratulations to OPS Teacher Leader Academy Primarily Math participant Angela Holdren, a second- and third-grade teacher at King Elementary School with Omaha Public Schools, who earned National Board Certification in 2013. National Board Certification is a rigorous, performance-based, peer review process created for teachers, by teachers. In 2013, 10 Nebraska teachers achieved certification bringing the total number of Nebraska National Board Certified Teachers to 110.

We recently interviewed Holdren about her teaching career and about receiving this honor.

Q: How long have you been preparing your materials for board certification?

A: I worked toward my certification for two years. I missed certifying my first year by .10 of a point. I "banked" my scores and re-wrote an entry for my portfolio and retook one online exam. I earned more than the 275 required points to pass. The points earned are insignificant in comparison with the education a teacher receives throughout this process.

Q: What does earning certification mean to you?

A: Although I considered myself reflective before this endeavor, I learned to question everything I did for my students, families and colleagues. I gained confidence in evaluating standards, child development, and teaching practices.

Q: What advice would you give to other teachers who are thinking about becoming nationally board certified?

A: Teachers who want to challenge themselves and advance their pedagogy should consider this amazing journey toward National Board Certification.

Q: What are some things you learned through OPS TLA Primarily Math that have helped you develop as a teacher?

A: As an educator, I'm constantly searching for ways to improve my instruction for my students. Primarily Math has been intense, but rewarding. I've learned new hands-on approaches to teaching higher-level mathematics to young children whose abilities I had previously under-estimated. My students have risen to my expectations. My students and I love math and look forward to "doing" math multiple times throughout our day. In Primarily Math, I've learned new strategies like "open number lines" and "bar diagrams" that I have taught my students to use efficiently.

Q: Do you remember any of your favorite teachers from your childhood? How did they inspire you?

A: I am a product of Omaha Public Schools. My favorite teacher was Miss Dieter, who taught third grade at Conestoga Elementary. I was bused downtown to a school outside of my neighborhood. I loved the experience of riding on a bus and being in an unfamiliar environment. I met new kids from all over Omaha with a variety of backgrounds. Miss Dieter was energetic and made learning fun and interactive. I have such vivid memories of the children in my class and my dad as our "Room Parent". I have wonderful memories of my education in Omaha Public Schools and hope to instill fond memories for my own students.

Q: What do you like to work on outside of teaching?

A: In my free time, I enjoy playing volleyball, watching movies, and spending time with family and friends.

Q: What is your favorite thing about Nebraska?

A: My favorite thing about Nebraska is the positive and caring attitudes that our community outpours onto others. I'm proud to be a Cornhusker living "the good life.”