Teaching Viewed a ’Treasure Hunt’ by Barbara Maguire; Winner of 2004 Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award

May 3, 2004 — Barbara Maguire views teaching as a treasure hunt, involving "looking for clues, studying the map, always moving ahead and knowing that there’s more out there, finding that sometimes the best treasure is off the beaten path and learning that the getting there is sometimes better than the treasure itself," she says.

When it comes to teaching, some say Maguire herself is a treasure - and they’re right. Today she became one of only 10 Wyoming teachers to earn a 2004 Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award. Steven F. Leer, Arch Coal president and chief executive officer, made the announcement, accompanied by Wyo. Governor Dave Freudenthal; Dr. Cheryl Schroeder, educational consultant representing Dr. Trent Blankenship, superintendent of public instruction; and Gary McDowell, president of the Wyoming Education Association, during a ceremony at Carey Junior High School in Cheyenne.

"These teachers challenge and inspire students to reach for their dreams," said Leer. "They are helping build a stronger Wyoming and a stronger America one student at a time. Arch Coal is proud to recognize some of the state’s most talented teachers and their tremendous contributions to our society." 

Maguire teaches gifted/talented and self-contained classes to kindergarten through third-grade students at Park Elementary School, Casper, Wyo. "The questions and curiosity of my children drive our classroom explorations," she notes. "By integrating and making connections among subjects, I can cover many standards in one lesson and allow the children time to dig into their areas of interest.

"I know my students very well, allowing me to provide an education that is appropriate and unique to each individual," she adds. "The strengths and weaknesses of each student guide the direction I take, using each strength to help build areas of less ability and confidence."

Maguire earned a bachelor’s degree at Michigan State University and a master’s degree at the University of Wyoming, Laramie. She continues her education through a variety of courses and programs, including National Board Certification. She is a recipient of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and is a GEMS (Great Explorations in Match and Science) associate. Maguire has worked with the University of Wyoming Middle Level Mathematics Initiative as a course designer, instructor and mentor. She also has completed training to be a teacher in differentiated instruction for her district. 

She, her students and their families participate in a range of community-betterment initiatives, including the Salvation Army, a local hospice center, the Jason’s Friends Foundation and an anti-litter program. Maguire recently was selected to serve on the Board of Directors for the Child Development Center of Natrona County. 

In addition to recognition, award recipients receive a $2,500 unrestricted cash prize, a distinctive trophy and a classroom plaque. 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 one of the nation’s largest coal producers and employs approximately 650 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.