Education

Natrona County’s Peden Wins Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award

Cheyenne (April 25, 2003) — Mary Beth Peden believes learning should be exciting and enjoyable. “I want my students to look forward to coming to my class,” she says. “I want them to know that they will be safe, that they will be challenged and expected to do their best work, and that each will be respected as an important member of the class.

“I believe that the best way to educate is to teach students to wonder and investigate, draw conclusions and make associations or connections with other issues or concepts,” she adds. “I believe one of the goals of education is to instill a sense of responsibility for one’s actions.”

Such beliefs pay off — for her students and for Peden. She is one of only 10 Wyoming 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 Governor Dave Freudenthal, Deputy Superintendent of Education Mary Kay Hill, and Kathryn Valido, a member of the executive committee of the Wyoming Education Association, during a ceremony at Cheyenne East High School.

“In this third year of our teacher recognition program in Wyoming, we continue to see teacher excellence across the state,” says Leer. “We believe outstanding teachers are the cornerstone of a good education. These recipients bring the magic of learning into their classrooms every day, and they have experience, expertise and a passion for learning themselves.”

Peden teaches modern American studies to sophomores at Natrona County High School, Casper, Wyo. “My strength is my love for life, for my students and for teaching,” she says.

“My strengths in the classroom are my enthusiasm for studying the past, for making history live and for making it meaningful in their lives,” Peden adds. “I strive to help them see how history does affect the present and future and the connections and importance in their heritage.”

Peden earned her bachelor’s degree at Dickinson College, Carlisle, Pa., and a master’s degree at Lesley University, Cambridge, Mass. Her master’s work emphasized brain research, and the importance of addressing the different learning styles and types of intelligence. She continues her education through coursework aimed at sharpening her skills and knowledge of her area — and keeping her excited and enthusiastic about her job. Peden further supports her community through a variety of civic, health, safety and other education-related initiatives.

In addition to recognition, award recipients receive a $2,500 unrestricted cash prize, a distinctive glass trophy and a framed certificate. The Arch Coal teacher recognition program features public nomination and peer selection. Arch Coal is supported by the Wyoming Department of Education, the Wyoming Education Association, Taco John’s and MiniMart in program promotion.

Arch Coal is the nation’s second largest coal producer and employs 600 people in Wyoming. Arch produces more than 65 million tons of clean-burning, low-sulfur coal annually at its Wyoming operations. The company’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, Mo.