Eastside Elementary’s Sally Spooner Wins Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award

Cheyenne (May 3, 2002) - Sally Spooner’s earliest students may not have been the most “receptive,” but she didn’t seem to mind. “I lined up all my dolls and stuffed animals to be the students and even dragged in my little sister and my friends,” she recalls. “I always wanted to teach. Even after 31 years, I am not ready to leave the classroom.”

She left today, but with good reason. Spooner, a second-grade teacher at Eastside Elementary in Cody, 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!”

“Sally’s contributions to education go beyond teaching her students,” notes Eastside Principal Dr. Kip Hanich. “She is a leader and trainer of teachers. She is a member of the district’s Six Traits of Writing assessment committee. She is a mentor of student teachers, and she is a national trainer for Talents Unlimited.”

“With a true commitment to the students she teaches, Sally continually seeks new ways to stimulate each,” adds Spooner’s colleague and Looping Partner, Ted Wambeke. “Students at all levels benefit from her organized lessons, which foster both personal and academic growth.”

Spooner earned her bachelor’s degree at the University of Kansas, at Lawrence. She also has earned national certification in Talents Unlimited and The Write Traits. Within the classroom, she strives to make every child feel valued. “I teach students, not subjects,” Spooner says. “Creating classroom climate is the most important part of each day. In keeping with my goal that every child feels valued, every response a child gives must be validated in some way.

“This is a critical learning element of our classroom,” she adds. “No one is allowed to mock or criticize another student’s thinking. When errors occur, our motto is respected: Learn from your own mistakes.”

Each award recipient receives a $2,500 unrestricted cash award and a handmade bronze apple, 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.