Cox earns prestigious teaching certification

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 4, 2003

Snack time has ended and math homework assessment began. Children scrambled to finish the last of their Doritos and ice cream cones. Particularly early for such treats, but it was standard tradition.

Perplexed by the sight of a visitor the children’s loud voices turned into murmurs of curiosity. "One more warning," cautions the petite lady.

She is dressed like a teacher, huge colorful pencils decorate her sweater; her eyeglasses embrace her round face. She is so elated and charmed by the discovery of her newly stated certification that she ignores the mumbles of the restless schoolchildren and talks on unvexatiously.

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Fran Cox is anxious and she has reason to be… she is one of 8,195 elementary and secondary school teachers nationwide who achieved National Board Certification in 2003. She has dedicated 11 years of service, earning her B.S from the University of Alabama and her MA from University of West Alabama. She is excited to have earned the certification.

It took this fifth grade teacher at U.S Jones Elementary School, three years. After failing her first try, she continued to be persistent.

Cox did not come from a familial legacy of teachers but attributes her biggest inspiration; to her father, who was once the Mayor in Greensboro.

She humbly admits she is elated about her privileges of her certification, which includes a salary increase and possible classroom funding and a trip to the Governor’s Mansion. A customary invitation extended to all Alabama state teachers who are certified by the National Board.

In order to complete certification, she received a grant from the state of Alabama. The state awards a hundred grant recipients money to pursue certification. The $2300 grant supplied the necessary tools for Cox to complete portfolios, compose research and purchase learning tools. "I did it for the challenge," she said. "It was a growing process." The board required a summer assessment session, which ended with the administration of an examination, that Cox said she was not mentally prepared to conquer, although she was secure with her content knowledge. She remained steadfast in her commitment in completing the process successfully.

Education is very important to this mother of two. "It’s important, especially in this area," she said. "We can make a difference in our community and our children, it’s the foundation of our society." Although the biggest challenge is "meeting the needs of the students." She learned through her certification process that all children are unique. There are 26 individuals in her classroom and she seeks to understand and respect each child’s individual needs.