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Patrick McRae

Krista Sorek

Margaret Tsosie

Kelly Dee

Kristy Fyfe

Charlene Ralls

Jessica Townsend

Thomas Worrell


Three teachers earn National Board Certification; six renew

Congratulations to three Hampton City Schools (HCS) teachers who recently earned their National Board Teacher certification. Six teachers also renewed their certification. Teachers who earned their certification for the first time are: Patrick McRae, math teacher at Tarrant Middle School; Krista Sorek, first grade teacher at Mary S. Peake Elementary; and Margaret Tsosie, elementary teacher specialist for social studies.

McRae, who is a banker turned educator, has six years of teaching experience, all at Tarrant Middle School. He earned a bachelors in economics from the University of Pittsburgh, an MBA from Bellevue University, and will be finished with his Ed.S. in educational leadership from Old Dominion University (ODU) in August 2023.

Sorek says "First Grade Forever" has been a personal motto of hers since she first started teaching. She says first grade is the best and has been her home since she started teaching six years ago. Sorek was named Mary S. Peake's Teacher of the Year and Hampton City Schools Elementary Teacher of the Year for the 2022-2023 school year.

Tsosie was the reading specialist at Armstrong School for the Arts before becoming an elementary teacher specialist. Prior to that position, she was a classroom teacher at Burbank Elementary School and Smith Elementary School. She is a licensed PreK-6 teacher with a master’s in elementary education, and a reading specialist master’s degree with a certificate in literacy coaching. This is Tsosie’s eighth year with HCS.

Kelly Dee, visual and performing arts curriculum leader; Courtney Farries, special education teacher at Jones Magnet Middle School; Kristy Fyfe, language arts teacher at Jones Magnet Middle School; Charlene Ralls, reading specialist at Machen Elementary School; Jessica Townsend, math interventionist at Forrest Elementary; and Thomas Worrell, teacher librarian at Phoebus High School; all renewed their national board certification.

Dee has renewed his certification twice since earning his initial certification. During this time, he has mentored candidates, scored, and trained scorers as well as served as president of the Southeastern Virginia NBCT Regional Network.

Farries says she has enjoyed the last 15 years teaching and had the pleasure of the past eight with the Hampton City Schools family. She said that obtaining her NBCT MOC (recertification) is an honor as the process provided an opportunity to reflect on the experiences she has shared with colleagues through her work.

Fyfe has been a language arts teacher for 25 years, all teaching middle school language arts for HCS. She is a product of Hampton City Schools, as are her husband and children. Fyfe shared that her mother was also a teacher for HCS for more than 30 years. She received her first National Board certification in 2003 and recertified in 2013.

Ralls has worked for Hampton City Schools for 15 years as a third grade teacher, reading interventionist, and now a reading specialist. Before joining HCS, she taught in North Carolina and Sylvan Learning Centers.

Townsend has been teaching for 18 years; six as a classroom teacher in Newport News and the last 12 in Hampton as a math interventionist. Townsend shared, “I truly feel that I am a lifelong learner and am always working toward improving myself for the benefit of my students and colleagues.” In addition to maintaining her NBCT certificate, she also graduated from the HCS/ODU leadership cohort last May.

Worrell is in his 16th year with Hampton City Schools and has worked as a middle school math teacher at Lindsay Middle School and a math coach. He is currently the golf coach at Phoebus and has two children in first and fourth grade.

From the National Board Certification website:

National Board Certification is the most respected professional certification available in education and provides numerous benefits to teachers, students and schools. It was designed to develop, retain and recognize accomplished teachers and to generate ongoing improvement in schools nationwide.

While teacher licensure systems set the basic requirements to teach in each state, completion of National Board Certification signifies that teachers have voluntarily gone much further. NBCTs have developed and demonstrated the advanced knowledge, skills, and practices required of an outstanding educator.

Standards for each content area and developmental level are created by teachers, for teachers. They represent a consensus among educators about what accomplished, effective teachers should know and be able to do to improve student learning and achievement. Board certification is available in 25 certificate areas, from Pre-K through 12th grade.

Certification consists of four components: assessment of content knowledge, reflection on student work samples, video and analysis of teaching practice, and documentation of the impact of assessment and collaboration on student learning. Throughout its more than 25-year history, the National Board has sought to review and revise its standards and certification process to reflect best practices in teaching. Throughout the process, teachers will be able to apply what they have learned to their classroom practice and connect with other teachers pursuing certification. Recognizing the many demands on teachers’ time, the process is designed to be flexible, efficient, and affordable.