Education

Susan Lynn Huggins Earns Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award

February 25, 2004 — Susan Lynn Huggins has loved school for nearly as long as she can remember. "My love affair with learning began as early as first grade," Huggins says. "It is unbelievable to me that more than 25 years have passed since I began to teach. My days in the classroom, although challenging, are filled with enjoyable interaction that comes when students are busily engaged in the fascinating business of learning."

Today, Huggins readily left her classroom, but with good reason. She became one of only 10 teachers in West Virginia 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."

Huggins teaches English and journalism at Williamstown High School, Williamstown, W.Va., where she strives to help students learn to respect others and to communicate in a way that makes the world a better place. "I want students to realize their potential, and I feel I am good at helping students recognize and use their strengths and cope with any weaknesses they may have," Huggins notes.

"Learning the skills taught in my English class helps them communicate effectively and showcase their thoughts and decision-making abilities," she adds. "I want them to anticipate their entry into the adult world and to feel they have the power to help change things they believe should be improved."

Huggins earned a bachelor’s degree at Glenville State College, Glenville, W.Va.; a master’s degree at Ohio’s Marietta College; and certification through the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. She has participated in West Virginia Center for Professional Development institutes as both a student and instructor, and her future plans include completing a doctorate degree.

Through the years, Huggins’ most cherished rewards came from students. "Receiving invitations to academic honors banquets and to the Governor’s Honors Academy as a favorite educator is great, but so are the kids that simply say ’thanks,’" she says. "You know you have been a successful teacher when students say you have helped them reach their potential." Huggins further supports her community through involvement in education and church activities.

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.