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SD 308 Proudly Announces National Board Certified Teacher and Re-Certified Teachers

SD308 Community Unit School District Media Alert
For immediate release

Contact: Theresa Komitas
Phone: (630) 636-3660


SD 308 Proudly Announces National Board Certified Teacher and Re-Certified Teachers


Joyce Shumate


Oswego, Ill. (March 1, 2019) — Oswego Community Unit School District 308 is proud to recognize the accomplishments of Joyce Shumate, Bednarcik Junior High School, who has recently earned the designation as a National Board Certified Teacher.  Joyce received her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from the University of Mississippi in 2001 and spent the first years of her career teaching 4th grade in Southaven, MS. In 2004, she joined the Bednarcik staff as a long term sub and paraprofessional, and in 2006, began her current position as a certified teacher.  Joyce completed her master’s degree as a reading specialist from the University of St. Francis in 2009. She currently teaches 6th grade honors language arts.  In addition to her recent National Board Certification, Joyce holds middle school endorsements in language arts, social studies, and gifted education.  Joyce lives with her husband and son in Oswego.   Joyce says, “Learning is messy.  What’s great about teaching is that you are able to guide young people through the mess of confusion and uncertainty, help them grow and, finally, see them succeed.”

This is one of the most prestigious credentials a teacher can earn. Like board certified doctors and accountants, teachers who achieve national board certification have met rigorous standards through intensive study, expert evaluation, self assessment and peer review. The process can take up to three years to complete. SD 308 congratulates Joyce on their hard work and perseverance in achieving national board certification.

We also would like to recognize Michelle Schmit, Fox Chase Elementary School, Andrea Praught, Prairie Point Elementary School, and Mary Struve, Prairie Point Elementary school for having re-certified as National Board Certified Teachers.



Michelle Schmit earned her Bachelor’s degree from St.  Francis in Joliet, Illinois and her master’s degree Michelle Schmit from Illinois State University, Normal.  She currently is working toward her English as a second language endorsement.  Michelle says, “I remember being in high school and having the most motivating and kind teacher who made learning so much fun and interesting.  It was at that point that I decided I wanted to pay-it-forward and do the same thing for kids.”



Andrea Praught
earned her Bachelor’s degree in Deaf Education from Illinois Andrea Praught State University and her Masters’ degree at Grand Valley State University. Her teaching experience spans 25 years, including 13 years at Prairie Point Elementary. In 2009, she received her National Board Certification and renewed that certification in 2018. She participated in the Master Teacher Project through the National Education Association and posted 130 Common Core lessons online in 2013. She lives in Naperville with her husband and has 5 amazing children ages 27-18.  Andrea says, “What makes teaching great is watching my young students with hearing loss light up when they understand something new! Teaching young kids with hearing and language challenges is my passion and Prairie Point is a great place for staff and kids!”

Mary Struve
earned her bachelor’s degree at Illinois State University in 1999 Mary Struve and her master’s degree in teaching, learning, and leadership from California State University, San Marcos in 2006.  Mary has completed requirements to teach English learners and gifted and talented students in California and has her special education endorsement from Aurora University in 2016.  She received her National Board Certification in 2008 and renewed in 2018.  Mary says, “I enjoy sharing my experiences as a learner, and my excitement about learning with students.  The best part of teaching is seeing students’ curiosity, confidence, and love of learning grow as they become leaders of their own learning.”

These educators’ ability to meet these stringent teaching standards is truly an impressive accomplishment. The rigor that is a part of this national movement toward quality educational reform ensures that earning national board certification is a mark of distinction.  “These educators have grown in their profession and their ability to meet the increasing demands of educating our youth.  Their ability to demonstrate the nation’s highest teaching standards is of great value to the students they serve as well as a beneficial resource to their fellow faculty members,” say Dr. Heidi Podjasek, Director of Professional Development.