Castor To Head Board Certifying Outstanding Teachers

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Betty Castor, the president of the University of South Florida and that state's former schools chief, has been chosen to lead the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.

Ms. Castor, who was selected last month after a national search, will replace James A. Kelly, the founding president of the organization. The privately organized board, formed in 1987, is building a system of voluntary national certification for outstanding teachers.

Ms. Castor, 58, brings both extensive experience in education and fund-raising expertise to the full-time executive position. The national board, based in Southfield, Mich., operates with a $35 million budget made up of private, foundation, and federal money.

"I really think the national board and the teaching standards are one of the most significant reforms that we have," Ms. Castor said in an interview. "I think they have great potential to impact not only teaching standards, but other education reform efforts."

She will begin her new job Oct. 1. Ms. Castor's salary had not been determined, but her predecessor earned $243,000 a year.

Seasoned Fund-Raiser

During her five-year tenure as the president of the Tampa-based institution, Ms. Castor more than tripled the University of South Florida's endowment, from $65 million to more than $200 million.

Fund-raising will be a large part of her new job, as it was for Mr. Kelly. But Ms. Castor also said she will devote attention to state legislatures, hoping to persuade lawmakers to craft incentives and rewards for teachers to become board-certified.

Before becoming president of the university, Ms. Castor served as Florida's elected commissioner of education from 1986 to 1993.

Betty Castor

A Democrat, she was also a state senator, representing the west coast of the state. She served as the president pro tempore of the Florida Senate during the 1985-86 sessions.

Earlier in her career, she was the director of governmental relations for the University of South Florida and a commissioner on the Hillsborough, Fla., county board.

Ms. Castor began her career as a teacher in Uganda and later taught elementary school in Dade County, Fla.

Bob Chase, the president of the National Education Association and a member of the national board's search committee, called Ms. Castor "an eloquent and enthusiastic advocate for teachers and teacher professional development."

Mr. Kelly, who called Ms. Castor a "gifted leader and skilled doer," said he was gratified to leave the board in her hands.

The board plans to increase significantly the number of candidates seeking its advanced certification over the next few years. Currently, 1,835 teacher have been certified. The goal is to increase that number to 100,000 by 2006.

By November, the organization expects to have certified some 5,000 teachers. "From that point on," Ms. Castor predicted, "the numbers will increase very dramatically."

Vol. 18, Issue 43, Page 3

Published in Print: August 4, 1999, as Castor To Head Board Certifying Outstanding Teachers
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