Neale Elementary’s Dee Bolyard Earns Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award

Scott Depot (April 30, 2002) – Dee Bolyard views the teaching profession as a rewarding experience. “I work with students who are struggling with reading,” she notes. “As I create programs to improve their skills, my concern for the individuality of my students’ needs is a central focal point. I believe each child has strengths that I must value, as I plan for their instruction.”

Today Bolyard received a different type of reward. She was one of only 10 West Virginia teachers to be given a 2002 Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award. Arch Coal President and Chief Executive Officer Steven F. Leer presented the award, accompanied by Gov. Bob Wise, Secretary of Education and Arts Kay Goodwin, State Schools Superintendent David Stewart, and West Virginia Education Association President Tom Lange, at an awards ceremony at Scott Teays Elementary School in Scott Depot.

“Each year, we are thrilled with the large number of excellent applications we receive from very talented West Virginia teachers,” says Leer. “In fact, I am very pleased that the judging is done by a blue-ribbon panel of peers — instead of by Arch Coal personnel. It is very clear that West Virginia has many, many teachers who bring the magic of learning into our children’s classrooms every day.”

“As Dee’s reading supervisor, I know her students are No. 1 in importance,” says Sue Ellen Johnson, reading curriculum supervisor at Neale Elementary. “When a student need arises, Dee willingly schedules her planning time to give attention to ‘just one more’ struggling reader. She provides multiple resources to teach and review a strategy being taught. Dee continues to study and learn how to diagnose and select the strategies that her students will need to move toward independence in reading.”

“Dee’s gentle nature and kindheartedness are reflected in her approach to teaching,” adds colleague and friend Teresa Wilson. “I believe that the gains made by her students are due in large part to the very personal rapport she develops with each of them individually.”

“A child once told me that I am like a grandmother when I teach,” Bolyard notes. “He meant that as a compliment! I feel that grandparents see their grandchildren as unique and love them unconditionally. I find value in each child. I believe each child can learn, and that I, in turn, can learn from them. My mind is always open for new ideas. I do not accept failure for a child easily. The simple act of listening and giving positive feedback can do wonders for improving the attitudes and efforts of my troubled students.”

Bolyard earned her bachelor’s degree at Fairmont State and a master’s degree from West Virginia University.

In addition to recognition, each award recipient receives a $2,500, unrestricted cash prize and a distinctive glass trophy. The Arch Coal teacher recognition program features public nomination and peer selection.

Arch Coal has support from the West Virginia Department of Education, the West Virginia Education Association, and Speedway in promoting the program. Arch Coal’s teacher awards program is one of the longest running in the state.

Arch Coal is the nation’s second largest coal producer and a supplier of clean-burning, low-sulfur coal exclusively. Approximately 2,000 people are employed at Arch’s operations in West Virginia. The company is listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: ACI) and maintains its corporate headquarters in St. Louis.