WES teacher receives high distinction

By Staff
Nathan Strickland
Russellville West Elementary teacher Donna Bolton became the second National Board Certified teacher to ever teach in the Russellville school system. The first teacher was Michelle Swindall who is currently teaching in Georgia.
Bolton, who is currently teaching first grade, has become one of four teachers throughout the county to press through the rigorous and very time consuming certification process and received the highest certification a teacher can receive.
Bolton said it was a tough process, but she was able to pace herself and get through the difficult “box” required for the certification.
Bolton said the thing that makes it tough to become certified is the time limit. Three school years is all the time that is allotted to become certified. Bolton spent the first year applying for grants to help her along the way.
The almost 19 year teacher is in her fifth year at Russellville.
She said when she began the process to go after the certification she was pregnant with her first child. Bolton also had to fight through a spell of thyroid cancer, which has since been removed from her throat, while trying to accomplish the high achievement.
Bolton feels like a weight has been lifted off her shoulders.
There are only around three percent of all teachers who have been able to get certified. Bolton said Alabama is ranked 11th out of all 50 states having national board certified teachers.
Now with a daughter in third grade and a son in kindergarten, Bolton feels like she neglected her family in the process, but plans on paying them back for their support.
The benefit of being a National Board Certified Teacher is high, paying out $5,000 per year every ten years and catches the eye when put on a resume.
Bolton said the certification is not anything like getting a degree from college.
West Elementary Principal Ramona Robinson said it is a delight to have Mrs. Bolton on staff and hopes she will encourage other teachers to follow in her shoes.
Bolton said the next highest feet for her to reach would be to obtain a doctorate in teaching, but feels that she owes it to her family to get things back to normal and just be satisfied with what she has for now.