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The American Board has certified over 6,000 teachers across the country in the last decade. With so many educators in the field holding an American Board certification, we thought we’d check in on some of our alumni to hear their stories. Below is part two of our American Board Alum series. Read part one here.

Kim Blakely, American Board alumni

Missouri resident Kim Blakely knew she had a passion for teaching as early as her college years. “I switched my major a couple of times because I couldn’t decide between psychology or teaching. Ended up picking psychology,” she told the American Board in an email.

This is a decision she would soon come to second-guess. “Every job I have held (involved) working with kids, and through the years I always regretted not pursuing teaching.”

After having kids of her own and homeschooling them, Kim felt the call to teach even more. After placing her kids in public school, she became a para-educator for three kindergarten classes in 2011. Kim then moved to another school, working with special education students for two years.

“Several people encouraged me at different times to go back and get my teaching degree, but financially I just did not see how it could happen,” Kim says. “I loved being a para and working with teachers who valued my abilities and believed in me as an educator.”

In 2014, one of those teachers ended up sending Kim information about a local American Board information event. Kim began the program in 2015 and completed the program in January of 2016. She has already secured a job teaching 5th grade for the 2016-2017 school year!

Kim describes her experience with the American Board as, “Awesome and nothing but awesome.” She elaborates, “I put a lot of time into researching and studying. I completed the program while working full-time and taking care of my family. It can be done!”

Kim’s advice to those interested in the program? “You have to be very self-motivated and study, study, study.”

The future teacher sums up her email with a thank you. “I will forever be grateful for the American Board program which made my dream of teaching become a reality.”

Thank you to Kim Blakely for that fantastic advice! If you are an American Board alum and want to share your story, drop us a line at


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