Olsen Feted At Ceremony At McKinley Elementary; She Receives Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award

Casper – “I am motivated to teach because I really believe that I can make a difference in someone’s life every day,” says Cristina Lynn Olsen, a special education and sixth-grade teacher at McKinley Elementary in Casper.

Today, Arch Coal, Inc. gave the nine-year teaching veteran added motivation to continue her efforts in the classroom. The company named Olsen one of 10 recipients of its inaugural Teacher Achievement Award.

With the announcement, Arch Coal also presented Olsen a $2,500 cash award, according to Arch Coal Vice President Terry O’Connor, who told an assembly at McKinley Elementary School in Casper that “teachers are entrusted with Wyoming’s most valuable resource – its children.” O’Connor was joined at the awards ceremony by Governor Jim Geringer, State Superintendent Judy Catchpole and Wyoming Education Association President Gary McDowell.

“I challenge my students to work in a team situation on a daily basis,” says Olsen. “They work independently, but I encourage cooperation within their teams often. Their team helps them when they need a boost.

“I believe that every child can learn, and part of my role as their teacher is to discover how they learn best. This is not always an easy task, because of the variety of learning styles and backgrounds, but I work diligently to utilize a variety of techniques to meet the needs of the children,” says Olsen. “I realize that to be an effective teacher, I must be an advocate for children in every way possible. They are our future, and if I help create a hunger for knowledge, I have been successful.”

Principal Mike Bond, whose school hosted the ceremony for all the Arch Coal recipients, says, “Cristy can always be counted on to take a leadership role in school decisions. She holds herself to the highest professional standard in her teaching performance and as a role model for her students. Her ethics and character are among the highest of the teachers whom I have encountered in my 22 years in the field of education.”

“Great teachers, like Cristy, take relationships beyond an instructor/pupil status. Cristy is great because she truly cares. She addresses individual student needs, no matter how pressed she is for time. Kids know they can depend on her to listen, help, counsel, or just give a hug,” says colleague Ken Hampton, who also teaches sixth grade at McKinley.

“Cristy is amazing,” says Ashley Bright, who heads the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Wyoming. “On top of being an outstanding parent, wife and educator, she gives to her community unconditionally. Her sense of humor, faith-based beliefs, and love are a real light in our community.”

Olsen holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Augustana College.

This was the inaugural year of the Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Awards in Wyoming. Arch Coal is the nation’s second largest coal producer. Arch employs more than 500 people in Wyoming and produces more than 60 million tons of clean-burning, low-sulfur coal annually at its Wyoming operations. The company’s Black Thunder operation in Campbell County is one of the nation’s largest and most efficient coal mines. Arch Coal is traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: ACI) and makes its corporate headquarters in St. Louis, Mo.