May 06, 2008 at 15:00 PM EDT
10 Wyoming Teachers Receive Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Awards

GILLETTE, Wyo., May 6 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Ten outstanding Wyoming classroom teachers received Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Awards here today at a ceremony at Campbell County High School. It was the eighth year the Arch Coal Foundation has underwritten the statewide teacher recognition program.

In addition to Arch Coal Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Steven F. Leer, Governor Dave Freudenthal and First Lady Nancy Freudenthal, Wyoming Superintendent of Public Instruction Dr. Jim McBride and Wyoming Education Association President Kathryn Valido honored the recipients.

    The 10 recipients are:

    Beth Blatt                  Cody Middle School                   Cody
    Sharla Dowding              Newcastle High School                Newcastle
    Ann Eckardt                 Cody High School                     Cody
    Annette Graham              Clearmont Elementary School          Clearmont
    Julie A. Grant              Central High School                  Cheyenne
    Thor Gunderson              Campbell County High School          Gillette
    Jenny Johnson               Crest Hill Elementary School         Casper
    Rita Lewis                  Sage Valley Junior High School       Gillette
    Kathy Miller                Campbell County High School          Gillette
    Susie Wilson                Hillcrest Elementary                 Gillette

"These teachers are consummate education professionals, who work many hours outside their classrooms for their students and also serve willingly in community organizations," said Leer. "We're here today to recognize these 10 excellent teachers as well as convey our appreciation for teachers throughout Wyoming who bring learning to their classrooms each day.

"These outstanding teachers bring their enthusiasm for learning, their experience and their abilities to school every day," Leer said. "Many say a teacher has the most important job in America. When a teacher's 'product' is the successful teaching of a child, who can deny the importance of classroom teachers? Arch Coal is proud to honor these teachers."

"My fondest memories of school always seem to center around those special teachers, the ones who really made a difference and made me want to show up for their class," said Gov. Freudenthal. "This year's winners are those types of teachers. I want to congratulate each of this year's winners. The Arch Coal Wyoming Teacher Achievement Award is one of the top honors a Wyoming educator can receive, and confirms the great job each is doing."

"Wyoming is blessed to have educators with these teachers' enthusiasm, dedication and skill," said First Lady Freudenthal. "We are also very fortunate to have companies like Arch Coal, which recognizes these efforts."

"We are very fortunate to have such wonderful teachers throughout Wyoming helping our students to achieve academic excellence," said McBride. "It is thanks to great partnerships with industry leaders like Arch Coal that we can recognize some of our excellent educators."

"Thank you to the teachers for your dedication, loyalty and excellence in the classroom and thanks to Arch Coal for its efforts to reward our educators' hard work," McBride said.

"We are delighted to join with Arch Coal in recognizing these outstanding teachers who exemplify the great teaching that occurs every day in every part of Wyoming," said Valido.

The recipients were selected by an independent panel of peers composed of past recipients of the award, according to Greg Schaefer, Arch Coal vice president of external affairs, western region. The Arch Coal Foundation's teacher recognition program also is unique because it asks the public to nominate who it believes are the state's excellent classroom teachers.

"When the new school year begins in the fall, I hope that Wyoming's citizens will take a minute to recall a special teacher who has made a difference in his or her life and then nominate that teacher for a 2009 Arch Coal award," said Schaefer. "There remain many more outstanding Wyoming teachers who deserve this recognition."

The award is underwritten by the Arch Coal Foundation. In addition to recognition, award recipients receive a $2,500, unrestricted cash prize, a distinctive trophy and a classroom plaque.

The program is supported by the Wyoming Department of Education, the Wyoming Education Association, Taco John's, Loaf 'n Jug and the Wyoming library community.

Arch Coal is one of the nation's largest coal producers, and its Thunder Basin Coal Company subsidiary employs more than 1,200 people in Wyoming. Thunder Basin's Black Thunder and Coal Creek mines sell more than 90 million tons of cleaner-burning, low-sulfur coal on an annual basis. Arch Coal is traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE:ACI) and maintains its corporate headquarters in St. Louis, Mo.

Information and photographs for the 10 recipients are posted on Arch Coal's Web site: http://www.archteacherawards.com.

Source: Arch Coal

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