Education

Timothy C. Alford’s Career Change Brings Personal Gratification and Arch Coal Teacher Award

Scott Depot (April 30, 2002) – After working 15 years in the consumer electronics field, Timothy C. Alford decided it was time for a career change to the profession once practiced by his late father – teaching.

Today, Alford, who teaches history and theology at Saint Joseph Central Catholic High School in Huntington, proved his decision to change career fields was on target. He became one of only 10 West Virginia Teachers to earn an 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 exceptional level of talent we see in West Virginia teachers,” says Leer. “The careful selection process — by a blue-ribbon panel of peer judges — makes the award that much more distinguished. I’m glad Arch can have a small part in recognizing the many teachers in West Virginia who bring the magic of learning into our children’s classrooms every day.”

“Engaging the student to take responsibility for learning is the driving force of my teaching style,” says Alford. “I have learned to create lessons that work to the strength of all students by varying the projects. In doing this, all the students are given the chance to become leaders, depending upon the project at hand.”

Alford recently took his students to “ground zero” in New York. As part of a lesson on how West Virginians could support the workers, his students crafted a giant “thank you” card, which had more than 5,000 signatures. “The project was so successful that the students were allowed to travel to New York and deliver the signatures in person,” Alford reports.

“He pointed out on several occasions the importance of these workers and that it was our responsibility to thank them,” says student Joshua Hammack. “Mr. Alford is a great teacher because of his ability to relate to children, his life experiences, and his knowledge of the several subjects he is teaching.”

Alford has received certification in three areas of special education. These, he feels, taught him different ways to teach material that also benefits regular students. In fact, Alford feels that the same strategies used with special education students “actually allow students to find their own weaknesses and develop ways to overcome them.”

Alford earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Marshall University and is currently working on his EdD at the same 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.