Education

Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Awardee Christine French Credits Former Teachers’ Influence

Cheyenne (May 3, 2002) - Newcastle High School’s Christine French chose the teaching profession for a number of reasons. Yet one in particular stands out. “I had many wonderful, caring teachers, who inspired me to excel in everything I pursued and who challenged me to expand my knowledge base beyond what was taught in the classroom,” French explains. “I was often called upon to assist other students with their learning. As I observed the attributes my teachers possessed, I realized I too possessed the qualities necessary to be the kind of teacher who could positively influence students.”

French’s observations paid off — inside the classroom and out! Today she was one of only 10 Wyoming teachers to receive a 2002 Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award.

Steven F. Leer, president and chief executive officer of Arch Coal, made the announcement. Gov. Jim Geringer, Superintendent of Public Instruction Judy Catchpole, and Wyoming Education Association Communications Director Ron Sniffin joined Leer at a ceremony at Jessup Elementary School in Cheyenne, which honored award recipients.

“Arch Coal is pleased to honor 10 excellent Wyoming teachers, who every day bring the magic of learning to their students,” Leer says. “We believe that great classroom teachers are primary, positive influences in American education. I know these teachers dare their students to succeed — and then teach them how!”

“As a building principal and as someone who has worked closely with Christine, I can tell you her quality of teaching is of the highest caliber,” notes Brad LaCroix. “Christine is a superb teacher/leader, who consistently demonstrates her ability to envision school improvement, get others excited about that vision, and work industriously to bring the vision to fruition."

Mary E. McGinty has taken two courses instructed by French. “In one class, I had the opportunity to participate in a one-day job shadowing experience and to complete a 16-week internship in the community,” she notes. “Largely as a result of this program, I finalized my future plans to pursue International Business/Public Relations.

“Mrs. French’s eagerness to make a difference in students’ lives, as well as to make the best of each day, encourages me as a student and inspires me as a person,” McGinty adds.

French earned her associate’s degree at Eastern Wyoming College, Torrington; a bachelor’s degree at the University of Northern Colorado, Greeley; and a master’s degree at the University of Wyoming. With 26 years’ experience, she teaches computer applications, desktop publishing and employability skills/internship to grades 10-12.

“The opportunity to instruct and interact with students is one of the major factors that motivate me to continue teaching,” she notes. “As a life-long learner, who continually participates in professional development activities, I am motivated to continue teaching, as I am eager and excited to share my newly acquired knowledge and skills with my students.”

Each award recipient receives a $2,500 unrestricted cash award and a distinctive glass trophy, in addition to other recognition. The Arch Coal teacher recognition program is unique because it features public nomination and peer selection. This is the second year for the Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Awards in Wyoming.

The Department of Education, the Wyoming Education Association, Taco John’s and MiniMart support Arch Coal in the program.

Arch Coal is the nation’s second largest coal producer and employs more than 500 people in Wyoming. The company annually produces more than 65 million tons of clean-burning, low-sulfur coal at its Wyoming operations. Arch’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 maintains its corporate headquarters in St. Louis.