News & Media

Arch Coal Honors 10 Outstanding Wyoming Teachers; Company Says 'No Shortage of Teaching Excellence' in State

May 3, 2005 at 12:00 AM EDT

Cheyenne, Wyo. (May 3, 2005) - Ten Wyoming teachers were honored today as recipients of the prestigious Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award at a ceremony at Buffalo Ridge Elementary School.

Arch Coal President and Chief Executive Officer Steven F. Leer, accompanied by Governor Dave Freudenthal, Wyoming First Lady Nancy Freudenthal, Department of Education Chief of Staff Lisa Skiles Parady, and Wyoming Education Association Executive Director Jean Hayek, presented awards to:

Kristina Sue Butler Cottonwood Elementary Wright
Cindy Catterton Wapiti Elementary School Cody
Kathy Christensen Crest Hill Elementary School Casper
Amy L. Gerber Cody High School Cody
Jeannie Hood Gunderson Manor Heights School Casper
Beth Kreuter Sundance Elementary Sundance
LaVonne Loraine Morrow Pershing Elementary School Rawlins
Kirsten Rochelle Rief Buffalo Ridge Elementary Cheyenne
Jean Marie Van Heule St. Margaret's Catholic School Riverton
Leora Ann Will Newcastle High School Newcastle

Each teacher received a personal, unrestricted cash award of $2,500 from Arch Coal, as well as a distinctive trophy and plaque.

"Today, we honor 10 of the state's best educators," said Leer. "They come from large cities and small communities. They teach in large or small schools, but they have one common thread. Each makes learning come alive in the classroom, where they nurture and teach our children. Arch Coal is proud to recognize their achievements in teaching excellence."

"Teachers play tremendously important roles in the lives of children and, by extension, in the lives of their families," said Gov. Freudenthal. "We are lucky here in Wyoming to have the caliber of teachers and schools that we do, so I am particularly pleased to be able to join in on recognizing their accomplishments. Both as governor and just as a parent, I remain grateful to them for the work they do and the impact they have."

"I am pleased that we are able to join with Arch Coal in recognizing these amazing teachers," Wyoming Superintendent of Public Instruction Dr. Trent Blankenship said. "Quality teachers are vital to the success of our students and we need to ensure we recognize them for their hard work.

"Thank you again to Arch Coal and its partners for recognizing the dedication of our teachers and their commitment to our children," Blankenship said in a prepared statement.

"The Wyoming Education Association congratulates each of the 10 award-winning teachers being honored this year," said Jean Hayek, Wyoming Education Association executive director. "WEA is proud to be a part of the Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Awards program and to have this opportunity to acknowledge the innovative and dedicated work done by these educators. They are representative of many excellent teachers in Wyoming, and we sincerely appreciate a quality recognition program such as this one that pays tribute to their achievements."

"These 10 superior teachers demonstrate excellence in their classrooms every day," said Greg Schaefer, vice president, external affairs, western region for Arch Coal. "Again this year, the judges had a very difficult time in determining the 10 educators we honor today because there were so many quality applications. Isn't it appropriate, during this week - National Teacher Appreciation Week - that we can say it is apparent there is no shortage of teaching excellence in Wyoming?"

The public made several hundred nominations this year, Schaefer explained. 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. Then, a panel of former and present teachers judged the applications.

"We are fortunate there are so many teachers in our state who bring the magic of learning into their classrooms every day," Schaefer said. "Each year of this program, we learn about new and truly imaginative methods that teachers use to obtain educational improvement."

Arch Coal had support from the Wyoming Department of Education, the Wyoming Education Association, Taco John's and Loaf 'n Jug in promoting the program. This is the program's fifth year in the state.

Arch Coal is the nation's second largest coal producer and employs approximately 900 people in Wyoming. Arch Coal's Black Thunder mine sells more than 90 million tons of clean-burning, low-sulfur coal on an annual basis. Located in Campbell County, Black Thunder mine is one of the largest and most efficient coal mines in the world. Arch Coal is traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: ACI) and maintains its corporate headquarters in St. Louis, Mo.

Information about each of the 10 recipients is posted on the Arch Coal Web site: