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Who are West Virginia’s Best Teachers? Arch Coal Wants to Know – From You!

November 28, 2000 - The Arch Coal, Inc. Teacher Achievement Awards are in full swing. Students, parents, grandparents and members of the education community are nominating those teachers they consider to be among the very best in the state, says Deck Slone, Arch Coal’s director of public affairs.

“This confirms Arch Coal’s belief that there are many teachers in West Virginia who are positive and highly accomplished deliverers of learning in their classrooms. We need to recognize the teaching excellence that occurs each day in West Virginia,” Slone said.

“Since the nomination phase began just a few weeks ago, we have already received more than 300 nominations,” Slone said. “Nominations don’t close until Jan. 22, 2001. However, by nominating a teacher early, you will ensure that the nominated teacher has more time to complete the in-depth information package before returning it to us.”

Slone said many of the nominations from adults and children include remarks about how specific teachers have changed the lives of their students.

For example, Grafton’s Anna Jarvis Elementary teacher Pamela Spring says her colleague Jeanne O’Neill deserves the award for “challenging her fourth grade students to do the best they can and encouraging them to develop their talents in all subjects.”

Princess Rowe, a student at Nitro High School, nominated her Spanish language teacher, Angie Reynolds. “She consistently gives not only her time, but her whole soul, to the classes she teaches.”

Said Michael Elmer, a student in Marvin Morgan’s sixth grade class in Ronceverte Elementary in Ronceverte, in his nomination, “He (Mr. Morgan) shows no favoritism. He really tries. He has brought a slow student’s grade from an ‘F’ to an ‘A+.’”

At Parkersburg South High School, student Ashley Mayhew says teacher Georgiana Atkinson is special because “she has helped me for the past three years, even after I no longer had her in class.”

Huntington High School teacher James McGinnis was nominated by student Ann Gilpin. “He is very funny, has a passion for math, and wants more than anything to educate kids and get them to learn as much as possible!”

Student Cody Vinson nominated Teresa Toler, a teacher at Road Branch Elementary in Cyclone. He summed up his teacher’s qualifications for the award with the simple recommendation, “My teacher is the best!”

Arch Coal presents 10 teachers from West Virginia with its achievement award, which includes a $2,500 cash prize. Nominated teachers must complete an application, which is then judged by a blue-ribbon panel of the teachers’ peers. Nomination forms are available in Speedway stations and in schools throughout the state. Nominations also may be made over the Internet at The awards are to be presented in Charleston in May 2001.

Arch Coal is the nation’s second largest coal producer, with subsidiary operations in West Virginia, Kentucky, Virginia, Wyoming, Colorado and Utah. Through these operations, Arch provides the fuel for approximately 6% of the electricity generated in the United States. More than 2,000 people are employed at the company’s mines in West Virginia.