According to Beth Maloney, a veteran 5th-grade teacher in Surprise, she wouldn’t be the teacher she is today if it weren’t for the Arizona K12 Center. And thanks to an ongoing partnership with the APS, which includes an annual grant of $20,000 to the Arizona K12 Center, the organization is better able to provide ongoing affordable professional development programs to teachers throughout the state of Arizona.

Maloney first got involved with the Arizona K12 Center over a decade ago, when she participated in a professional development session. She says she was immediately struck by how she and other participating teachers were treated as real working professionals.

“Teachers really need to be lifelong learners,” said Maloney. “It is so important for us to model that mindset for our students, so they see the importance of continuing to learn and grow.”

In a profession where teachers often feel undervalued and underpaid, Maloney says she can’t emphasize enough what the Arizona K12 Center has done for teachers and students in Arizona.

The Arizona K12 Center facilitates and supports a range of programs that impact classroom performance, empower teacher leaders, and enhance learning communities.  One of the programs is National Board Certification, a voluntary, rigorous national certification program. 

“National board certification doesn’t just make you a better teacher for a year or several years during the process,” said Maloney. “It sticks with you. It changes your mindset, the way you reflect on your teaching process, and the way you interact with students, families and the community.”

Kathy Wiebke, executive director of the Arizona K12 Center says her organization is committed to lifting teachers up. “Cognitively and emotionally, we want to fill their buckets,” said Wiebke.

Wiebke says funding like the ongoing support from APS is critical.

“Money is always the thing that keep us from doing what we need to do,” said Wiebke. “When we have generous donors like APS, we are able to stretch our dollars even more and put it back into the program.” 

APS supports two areas at the Arizona K12 Center – the Beginning Teacher Institute and the National Board Certified Teacher and Teacher Leadership Board.

“They help us support teachers along that continuum of practice,” said Wiebke, “from the newest to the most skilled and accomplished teachers.”

This year, APS also surprised each honoree at the New Master Teachers and Board Certified Teachers recognition event with a check for $200. Maloney says she had a friend who was on the receiving end of one of the $200 checks from APS.

“It was amazing,” said Maloney. “So unexpected. She knew exactly how she was going to spend the money – on a new set of books. Everything a teacher gets goes right back into the classroom. The bonus money was a real treat. That never happens.”