Education

Cokeville Elementary’s Rocky W. Moore Earns Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award

Cheyenne (May 3, 2002) - As unlikely as it may seem, Rocky W. Moore decided to become a teacher while in a closet. Before deciding his college major, Moore was asked to tutor a small group of fifth-graders. “The reading lesson was to be taught in a broom closet,” he explains. “It was during this lesson that I discovered the rewarding world of education.”

It’s been 32 years since Moore became a teacher. Twenty-three years ago, he joined the staff at Cokeville Elementary, where it is no coincidence he teaches fifth-grade students.

The wisdom of Moore’s career choice has long since come to “light” in much larger classrooms – and now, throughout the state. Today, he 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 in 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 last year’s fifth-graders enter my sixth-grade room each fall, they come with a deep respect and love for Mr. Moore,” notes colleague Lila Rigby. “Many students say he makes learning fun. He has car races to motivate students to learn their state capitals. He has a Romeo and Juliet activity to teach fractions. … He is always trying to get the students to think on their own.”

“I have heard him tell students that to succeed, you have to have faith in your own ability — and that all of them have that ability,” adds Cokeville secretary Christine Cook. “He encourages self-esteem in all students and finds ways to build them up, so they feel good about themselves.”

Moore, who earned his bachelor’s degree at Eastern Montana College, strives to provide a controlled, enjoyable, safe and productive learning environment. “I feel that I develop a classroom atmosphere that encourages a positive self-concept in all my students,” says Moore.

His creative activities and teaching methods are known locally as “Dog and Pony Shows,” according to Moore. “These programs are designed to teach a concept so that they give each student a chance to respond correctly,” he explains. “These ‘shows’ begin the year with no incorrect answers, which allows students to gain in confidence and feel success,” he notes. “As these ‘shows’ change, the students gain in confidence and are willing to take a chance.

“My students learn early that we work as a team,” Moore adds. “Working together, the students and I feel safe to respond and contribute to the total education of the class.”

Each 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.