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Southern Tier Region


The Southern Tier Region includes more than 9 counties and stretches across more than 6,500 square miles; encompassing isolated rural schools as well as urban areas. This area has been a bit of a National Board desert. A few individuals have found their way, but for most, the National Board journey is still foreign and overwhelming. However, the region has been blessed with incredible a surge of support from local administrators who have woven a focus on National Board Certification into other initiatives. Through the support of interested colleagues, an emphasis on collaboration and the involvement of strategic stakeholders we hope to create a National Board oasis in this desert. With increased awareness for teachers and districts and meaningful connections to higher education we plan pull together districts of our region, NYSED, NYSUT, BOCES, SUNY Cortland and local Teacher Centers to positively impact students by recruiting and retaining Board Certified teachers. The diversity of our region necessitates creative collaborations and diversified approaches to ensure quick, efficient and stable progress towards our goals. As the newest member of the NBCNY family, the opportunities for personal and professional growth in the Southern Tier are exciting.  

Co-Regional Coordinators

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Maria Fenton achieved National Board Certification in World Languages, and is currently an Adjunct Professor of Spanish. She brings over 20 years of teaching and mentoring experience to the NBCNY team. Born and raised in Europe, Maria is a graduate of Paris-Sorbonne University and speaks five languages fluently. In the States, she received education degrees from Wells College and SUNY Cortland. She is the Co-Regional Coordinator of Eastern Upstate. Maria facilitates National Board Certification Candidate Cohorts and works diligently with Candidate Support Providers in the Region. She is passionate about National Board Certification, knowing that it is the highest mark of professional accomplishment for educators; and that its process is such a continuous journey of leadership, learning and collaboration which brings amazing impact on student achievement! As she works with hundreds of colleagues, Maria is deeply inspired by their dedication to their students, and their commitment to excellence!


Maria Fenton, NBCT

Laura Havill


(607) 257-1555 ext 5111 


Laura was born and raised in upstate NY near Keuka Lake.  As she finished her BA in Deaf Studies from the University of Rochester, she realized she wanted to teach and pursued alternative certification in Texas' Rio Grande Valley.  In 1998, she came home to NY and was hired by the Turning Point Program of Tompkins-Seneca-Tioga BOCES as a special education teacher for middle school students whose emotional and behavioral difficulties made being in a less restrictive placement challenging.  She transitioned to an elementary position in the same program and then to TST's first Instructional Coach position.  Across her career, Laura strives to foster a culture of collaboration and support as a teacher leader and as Teachers Association President. She has facilitated the early district approach to APPR mandates through a “Don’t Panic” handbook and recently through the creation of a pilot program to guide APPR revisions. In 2011, she joined the NBC ranks as an Exceptional Needs Specialist.  Laura is passionate about ensuring that teacher voices are heard in district, regional and state-wide discussions. 

Support Near You!

Facilitator                         Email                                        Teacher Center/BOCES/District
Laura Havill                           TST BOCES-Ithaca
Maria Fenton            TST BOCES-Ithaca


Cohort: To ensure there is funding for the support for your NB work, TST BOCES' COSER is happening again this year.  This allows your district to fund our work together and to receive state aid on the related expenses.  To access this support, please register for the COSER via Frontline. Registering via this link is the prerequisite for the writing retreats we will offer. Since there is a cost, please make sure your administrator is not surprised by your registration.  If additional conversations would garner support for you, just let me know and we can connect with them.  If you are being supported by at Teacher Center and the Frontline registration is complicated, just reach out to us and we will navigate that on your behalf! 


Writing Retreats: Continuing our tradition, there will be virtual Saturday writing retreats through the winter and spring. After you have registered for the COSER please Register in My Learning Plan to get CTLE credits for your time as well as attendance for your grad credits (if you are doing that). They are currently scheduled for 1/6, 1/272/10, 3/2, 3/23, 4/13, 4/27, 5/11, 5/18. All are scheduled for 9a-2p and intended as dedicated, supported writing time for you in your own space, but with us on the other side of the screen. Each will start with a group check-in and presentation and then individual coaching slots that you can sign up for.  We will tailor these times to the needs of the group.

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