Education

Jefferson Elementary Center’s McMichael Earns Arch Coal, Inc. Teacher Award

Charleston - Diane H. McMichael began her teaching career in childhood. “I have three younger sisters, and as a child, I would spend many evenings teaching them what I had learned in school that day,” she notes. Today those early efforts - and many others since - paid off. McMichael is one of only 10 teachers in the state to receive an Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award.

In making the announcement, Arch Coal President and Chief Executive Officer Steven F. Leer presented McMichael with a $2,500 award. Also on hand to honor her were Governor Bob Wise, Superintendent of Schools Dr. David Stewart, and West Virginia Education Association President Tom Lange.

Now with 22 years as a “formal” educator, McMichael teaches at Jefferson Elementary Center, in Parkersburg. “As a Title I teacher, working with first-graders, I feel the best contribution I can make to their early education is to instill in them the joy of reading and a love for books,” she says. “I believe there can never be enough said about the importance of reading, especially in the lives of children. I believe reading is the bridge to all other subjects in school, and indeed, life.”

Her passion for reading has resulted in some unique projects, including a “Bookwalk,” in which students get to win new books, and “Book-a-thons,” three-week events designed to encourage kids to keep reading during spring and summer. Last May, primary students read more than 10,000 books during the three-week period.

McMichael goes beyond the school day to promote a love of reading, according to Rita Erb, a parent volunteer at Jefferson Elementary Center. “She works with a team in planning Family Literacy Nights for students in kindergarten through second grade,” Erb notes. “Literature activities using the book, Bailey Goes Camping, by Kevin Henkes, invited the families to experience indoor camping fun. Mrs. McMichael ‘took’ the campers on a bear hunt, and her enthusiasm was contagious. She shares with parents ways to make reading with our children fun, creative and meaningful.”

“As my mentor, Diane always demonstrated good judgment, flexibility, patience, and a very positive attitude,” adds Title I Reading Specialist Judy B. Johnson. “She proved to be a wonderful role model, sharing with me the breadth of her experience and perspective insight into both content and human endeavor. Diane is the ideal of all that I hope to be as a teacher – as a reading expert and a champion of children,” Johnson adds.

McMichael earned her bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education at Glenville State College and a master’s degree in Reading at West Virginia University.

Arch Coal in the nation’s second largest coal producer. Arch employs about 2,000 people in West Virginia. Arch Coal is traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: ACI) and makes its corporate headquarters in St., Louis, Mo.