Education

Gillette’s Kimberlee Ann Holland Earns Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award

May 3, 2004 — As the eldest daughter among 11 children, Kimberlee Ann Holland was expected to help with her younger brothers and sisters. "Looking back, it’s easy to see that much of what I did with my siblings was teaching," she recalls. "The lessons were not necessarily academic. ... Nonetheless, at a young age I played the role of teacher.

"I simply never outgrew it," Holland adds. "Rather, I knew I wanted to enhance the skills I had and, after college, share those skills with others." 

Although she’s only taught for six years, Holland’s early experiences apparently gave her a head start on excellence. 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."

Holland teaches special education and resource English courses at Sage Valley Junior High School, Gillette, Wyo. "My students are my motivators," she says. "I know my students well and can determine which activities will pose difficulties. I help prepare them for those activities and provide support. I assist students in their times of struggle and celebrate their victories with them. I teach my students that in our lives we have many successes and some failures, but that we move ahead and grow because of all of them.

"Teaching is an incredibly individualized profession," Holland adds. "Teachers are expected to use the individual skills and talents they possess to meet the needs of their students. This is particularly true of special education teachers."

Holland earned a bachelor’s degree at Lesley University, Cambridge, Mass., and a master’s degree at Black Hills State University, Spearfish, S.D. She continues her education through workshops, to learn methods that will stimulate her junior high students and rekindle their curiosity and desire to learn. She further supports her community through involvement in a range of education-related activities and other community-betterment initiatives. 

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.