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National Board Certified Teacher Heidi Vratil gets real when she talks about her past and present decisions surrounding education. Her realist remarks and determination to create change are sure to get your teacher fire ablaze for the 2016–2017 school year. Meet Heidi Vratil, a National Board Certi

Jul 29, 2016

National Board Certified Teacher Heidi Vratil gets real when she talks about her past and present decisions surrounding education. Her realist remarks and determination to create change are sure to get your teacher fire ablaze for the 2016–2017 school year.


Meet Heidi Vratil, a National Board Certified Teacher and Professional Development Coach in the Maricopa Unified School District. The 20-year teaching veteran, self-proclaimed lover of naps, and mother of four, says she strives to bring a sense of prestige to the field of education. Vratil, who has attended about 30 Arizona K12 Center events, is committed to helping educators across the continuum grow their teaching practice. Her experience in special education and meeting the needs of unique students is extraordinary, as she’s taught students with special needs in almost every category of special education eligibility, along with gifted and talented students.

We asked the Northern Arizona University alumna a few questions to better understand her perspective as an educator and what makes her tick.

What’s the best part about working in education?

The best part about working in education is that it is never a dull moment, and the same day never happens twice. I have had several "jobs" in education and I think that is part of why I stay. There are opportunities to do new and different things while continuing to impact students.

What’s the biggest challenge about working in education?

The biggest challenge to me is that we are not seen as professionals the way doctors and business folks are. The respect for what we do day in and day out is not the same. It's frustrating to know that I put 150 million percent into what I do and that our profession grows the next generation, and we are not seen or revered as the amazing humans that we are.

If you could go back and give the “first-year-teacher-you” advice, what would it be?

Oh goodness, I would tell myself to relax, get to know my students, and remember that it is about them … and that I don't have to be right.

Why do you choose to be an active National Board Certified Teacher?

National Board Certification helped me develop my voice as an educator. At the time, it was the proof I needed that I was good enough, smart enough. I want all teachers to experience the growth of their individual voice as a professional teacher and to use it. Our profession needs teachers to have voices and be active in the profession, not just in the classrooms.

As an Arizona K12 Center Master Teacher, how do you seek to improve your practice as you mentor and coach others?

I am a total nerd for professional development. I volunteer and seek out professional learning opportunities constantly. I used to be able to say that I read books, but I have a 2-year-old son. I read board books now.

What gets you out of bed in the morning?

I would love to say it is my passion to change the world one tiny bit at a time, but in all reality it's either my 2-year-old son or my three teenagers arguing, but also, just knowing I get to go to work with some amazing people who also want to change the world.

Hoping to get hooked on professional learning like Vratil? Don’t miss the variety of Arizona K12 Center events happening soon.

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Honor the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. by exploring this @PBS collection of resources about King's work for civ… https://t.co/KnkBaE51NJ

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