Affentranger Selected for National Board Committee

OBU alum Jenny Affentranger, who serves as lower elementary principal for Bethel Schools in Bethel, Okla., has been selected to serve on a 12-person National Board for Professional Teaching Standards committee that will revise the Literacy: Reading-Language Arts Standards.

Affentranger, who was selected from more than 500 applicants, will travel to the Washington, D.C., metro area five times between October and February for committee work.

The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) develops standards for accomplished teaching in 16 different subject areas. National Board Certification is achieved upon successful completion of an assessment designed to recognize effective and accomplished teachers who meet these standards. Affentranger's committee is tasked with revising the content of the standards for Literacy: Reading-Language Arts (LRLA). The committee will also receive feedback through public comment. The LRLA Committee will make final recommendations on the standards to the NBPTS Board of Directors during the spring of 2011.

Affentranger received her National Board Certification as an Early Childhood Generalist in December 2006. At the time, she was teaching first grade at Bethel Schools. The Early Childhood Generalist certificate is appropriate for teachers of students ages 3-8. National Board Certification is an advanced teaching credential that complements her Oklahoma teacher license. It is valid for 10 years.

A native of Bethel, Affentranger earned a bachelor's degree in early elementary in 2001.

"I developed good, lasting relationships with my professors in the education department," she said. "They went above and beyond to help me get through school so I could be a successful educator. I was working full time throughout my four years of college, and their compassion and understanding helped me most when I felt overloaded. I was also pushed by them to continually be a better student and not to be complacent."

Affentranger said she continued to push herself since her days as an OBU student. She started her master's degree at East Central University a month after graduating from OBU, earning a master's degree in elementary principalship in 2003. She completed the National Board process in December 2006. Now in her 10th year of education, she is starting her second year as Bethel's lower elementary principal.

In a letter from the NBPTS notifying Affentranger about the committee appointment, the organization said it recognizes its great responsibility to build a high-quality system that will elevate the teaching profession and lead to improvements in educating all of America's children. It said the responsibility can only be met with the assistance of knowledgeable, outstanding educators from across the country.

"Jenny was among our many exceptional teacher candidates," said Dr. Pam Robinson, dean of OBU's College of Arts and Sciences. "The teacher education program at OBU strives to prepare teachers who are knowledgeable, who possess a large repertoire of teaching tools, and who are reflective practitioners. Jenny's attainment of National Board certification and subsequent selection to this committee exemplifies the strong foundation we build within our graduates.

"It is impossible to prepare teachers for every single situation they will encounter, but it is possible to build their critical thinking skills, to enable them to articulate well both orally and in writing, to practice humility and self-reflection, to see and make connections in the world around and beyond them, to be a team player, to encourage a desire to experiment - to try new ideas, and to teach them how to integrate their faith into the classroom in a world that believes this cannot and/or should not be done."

Affentranger is a member of the Teacher Education Committee at OBU. Prior to serving as principal, she taught second grade at McLoud Schools for three years and first grade at Bethel Schools for five years. She was awarded Elementary Teacher of the Year at McLoud in 2004 and District Teacher of the Year at Bethel in 2010.

She is married to an OBU classmate, Mike Affentranger, who is a vice president for BancFirst in Shawnee. Their 4-year-old daughter, Marlee, starts pre-kindergarten at Bethel Schools this month. A future Bison, Marlee has participated in Kindermusik at OBU since she was 3 months old. Affentranger is an active member of Praise Assembly of God in Shawnee where she volunteers in the class for preschool children and serves as an usher/greeter.