Stephen N. Duckworth Earns Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award

February 25, 2004 — Stephen N. Duckworth was drafted immediately upon graduation from college. He thought his brand new teaching career had been put on hold indefinitely.
However, while undergoing his military training, Duckworth volunteered at a community health center, teaching underprivileged Hispanic adults. He tutored non-English speaking workers at Levi Strauss, fulfilling his desire to teach. He filled what was left of his "off" hours developing his painting skills.

"In both cases, I experienced the joy of teaching and watching learning evolve," Duckworth notes. "I then realized my focus was divided, and becoming an artist and a teacher was a contradiction for me. I chose to focus on becoming a good teacher."

Duckworth is not just a good teacher - he’s among West Virginia’s best. Today, he became one of only 10 teachers statewide to earn a 2004 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; State Schools Superintendent Dr. David Stewart; and WVEA President Tom Lange, in a presentation ceremony at the state capitol.

"When I see the accomplishments of our honorees, I know the students of West Virginia are in good hands," says Leer. "Each day, these teachers challenge, inspire and help students develop a passion for life-long learning. Arch Coal is proud to recognize some of the state’s most talented teachers."

Duckworth teaches art to seventh- and eight-grade students at New Martinsville School, New Martinsville, W.Va. A Native American proverb - Tell me and I’ll forget. Show me, and I may not remember. Involve me, and I’ll understand - serves as Duckworth’s basic teaching philosophy. "One rarely finds me dispensing information without the key to understanding," he notes.

"Instilling self-confidence is one of the most important ’gifts’ I leave with students," Duckworth adds. "In the classroom, students are challenged to seek a new level of accomplishment and discover art as an enjoyable life skill."

Duckworth earned an associate’s degree at Belmont Technical College, St. Clairsville, Ohio; a bachelor’s degree at Fairmont State College, Fairmont, W.Va.; and a master’s degree at Marshall University in Huntington, W.Va. He continues his education through a variety of academies and conferences. Duckworth’s multi-faceted efforts helped achieve New Martinsville’s "School of Excellence and Blue Ribbon School" designation. His involvement with Making Schools Matter led to enhancements in the school’s programs, and he initiated an award-winning Partners in Education tutoring program. He is an academic coach and the Student Assistance Team Chairman. Duckworth helped form Mid Valley Habitat for Humanity, and he speaks with community members on the importance of wise choices with regard to academics, attendance and discipline.

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. 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.

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 the longest running, privately sponsored teacher recognition program 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.