Education

Scott Teays Elementary’s Cynthia Coulson Named Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award Winner

Charleston (March 6, 2003) – Cynthia Coulson became a teacher because of a little girl she once knew. “From outward appearances, she seemed like her classmates,” Coulson recalls. “The girl’s home life, however, was by no means happy. Yet teachers saw a spark of something ’extra‘ in the girl. They treated her with respect and care and gave her something at which she could excel,” Coulson says. “And it kept her in school.

“I am that little girl,” she adds. “Her memory feeds my continued dedication to teaching and reminds me to be as loving to my students as my teachers were to me.”

Those who touched Coulson’s 8-year-old heart unknowingly touched the future. She is one of only 10 West Virginia teachers to receive a 2003 Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award. Steven F. Leer, Arch Coal president and chief executive officer, made the announcement, accompanied by West Virginia Governor Bob Wise; Secretary of Education and Arts Kay Goodwin; Deputy State Schools Superintendent Dr. Steven Paine, and WVEA President Tom Lange, at a presentation ceremony at the state capitol.

“This year’s ‘class’ of recipients is proof that West Virginia is blessed with many excellent teachers,” says Leer. “We truly believe excellent teachers are the cornerstone of a our society and economic vitality. These recipients have experience, expertise and a passion for learning, and they pass it on to their students every day.”

Coulson teaches music to kindergarten through fifth-grade students at Scott Teays Elementary, Scott Depot. “The music curriculum is serious, exciting and intriguing business in my classroom, but the delivery of that curriculum is a means to an end,” she says. “I must make the musical experience as positive as possible for my students so that, as they achieve mastery of the curriculum, they are empowered with self-esteem and feelings of power over their learning.

“I believe in a positive, self-fulfilling prophecy,” she adds. “I believe that children can reach the highest standards. Children will do anything, achieve anything, if we just show them the way.”

Coulson earned her bachelor’s degree at James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Va., and a master’s degree at Marshall University, Huntington. She continues her education through conferences, workshops and a 10-year association with the Larry Parsons Chorale. Coulson further serves her community through a variety of activities, including “admission-free” concerts, where the audience brings canned goods for local homeless shelters.

In addition to recognition, recipients receive a $2,500 unrestricted cash prize, a distinctive glass trophy and a framed certificate. The West Virginia Foundation for the Improvement of Education is making a $1,000 award to each recipient’s school for use with at-risk students. The Arch Coal teacher recognition program features public nomination and peer selection.

Arch Coal is supported by the West Virginia Department of Education, the West Virginia Education Association and Speedway in program promotion. Arch Coal’s Teacher Achievement Awards is one of the longest running, privately sponsored teacher recognition programs 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.