Great American Teachers Honored with Coal Teacher Achievement Award

April 15, 2012 by  
Filed under Heroes

CHEYENNE, Wyo., April 13, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — Ten Wyoming teachers were honored today as recipients of the prestigious Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award at a ceremony at South High School in Cheyenne.

Arch Coal Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Steven F. Leer, accompanied by Wyoming Governor Matt Mead, Wyoming First Lady Carol Mead, U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, U.S. Representative Cynthia M. Lummis, and Wyoming Department of Public Instruction Superintendent Cindy Hill presented the 12th annual awards to:

Stephany Anderson Cody High School Cody
Kathryn Kintz Sunflower School Gillette
Robin Levin Fort Washakie School Fort Washakie
Meredith McLaughlin University of Wyoming Lab School Laramie
Tammy Beth Needham Sundance Elementary School Sundance
Stella Rios Nowell University of Wyoming Lab School Laramie
Tascha Marie Smith South High School Cheyenne
Jo ann Stevens Rock Springs Junior High School Rock Springs
Carrie Michelle Varga Colter Elementary School Jackson
Cynthia Webb University of Wyoming Lab School Laramie

Each teacher received a personal, unrestricted cash award of $3,500 from Arch Coal, as well as a distinctive trophy and plaque. The Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Awards is Wyoming’s longest running, privately sponsored, statewide classroom teacher recognition program.

“Today, we honor some of Wyoming’s best educators – teachers who make learning come alive in their classrooms,” said Leer. “These teachers are entrusted with our children – to nurture them, guide them and instruct them in the skills they will need to be successful in the future. Arch Coal is proud to recognize their teaching excellence.”

“Each year Arch Coal gives us an opportunity to celebrate the profession of teaching, and to celebrate the unique contributions of 10 Wyoming teachers,” said Gov. Mead. “Carol and I are glad to recognize this year’s outstanding teachers, and to hear their individual stories.”

“One of the best gifts in life is a quality education from a teacher that cares,” said Sen. Enzi. “Wyoming teachers do all they can to prepare our children for the future and I’m pleased to see them recognized.”

“These teachers have not only raised the bar in Wyoming but for our country,” said Rep. Lummis. “The long hours, the genuine student connection and their tireless efforts, not only to educate but to foster tomorrow’s leaders, are truly impressive. Wyoming is fortunate to have educators like these individuals.”

“Having worked with several Arch Coal ‘Teacher Achievement Award’ recipients, I can attest to the value of Arch Coal’s contribution to education,” said Hill. “As an energy-rich state, I think it is incumbent upon our teachers to understand how their core subjects intersect with the many facets of the energy industry. Wyoming’s youth and young adults are very aware of three things:  #1, they live in a state that honors those who honor the land; #2, their state’s natural resources are directly linked to the quality of education they receive; #3, their teachers are some of the best in the world. I applaud Arch Coal for consistently recognizing the outstanding teachers who are helping shape America’s future.”

“The Wyoming Education Association is proud to have been involved with the Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Awards recognition program since its inception 12 years ago,” said Wyoming Education Association President Kathryn Valido. “We want to extend very heartfelt congratulations to this year’s recipients. Our members salute your efforts and excellence; you are truly an inspiration to all. Continue to provide a world-class education to your students; they are lucky to have you.”

Nominations of the teachers are made by the public, and selection is made by a blue-ribbon panel of the teachers’ peers, all former recipients of the Arch Coal award. Nominated teachers returned exhaustive applications that included their philosophy of teaching, reflections on what motivates them to continue to teach, and creative methods they use to achieve results in their classrooms. The judging panel examined and scored applications multiple times.

The Wyoming Department of Education, the Wyoming Education Association, the Wyoming library community, Taco John’s and Loaf ‘N Jug stores are longstanding supporters of the program.

The Arch Coal Foundation also is a supporter of teacher-recognition and grant programs in West Virginia, Utah and Colorado, as well as a number of other education-related causes.

U.S.-based Arch Coal, Inc. (NYSE:  ACI) is a top five global coal producer and marketer and the most diversified American coal company, with mining complexes across every major U.S. coal supply basin. In 2011, Arch continued to lead the U.S. coal industry in safety performance and environmental compliance among large, diversified producers. Arch’s Wyoming operations – Arch of Wyoming and Thunder Basin Coal Company’s Black Thunder and Coal Creek mines – have a combined workforce of more than 1,800.

Information about each of the 10 current recipients, as well as past recipients, is posted at


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