Education

Carol E. Muniz Earns Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award 

March 15, 2005 - Carol E. Muniz likes to “throw” herself into teaching. “I discovered that lessons taught with passion and enthusiasm are the lessons that students remember,” she says. “It was an incredible feeling when I saw them listening and understanding. When you do something right, it feels good. I have continued to teach with this kind of enthusiasm, and it has worked for my students.”

Passion and enthusiasm have worked for Muniz, too. Today she became one of only 12 teachers throughout the state to earn a 2005 Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award. Steven F. Leer, Arch Coal president and chief executive officer, made the announcement during a ceremony at the state capitol. He was accompanied by West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin; Secretary of Education and Arts Kay Goodwin; State Schools Superintendent David Stewart; and West Virginia Education Association President Tom Lange.

“Carol Muniz is very deserving of this honor,” says Leer. “There are so many excellent teachers in the state. She is obviously among the ‘best of the best.’ Arch Coal believes classroom teachers, who nurture the love of lifelong education in our children, deserve the respect and admiration of all West Virginia citizens.”

Muniz teaches coordinated and thematic science at Morgantown High School, Morgantown, W.Va. “Not all my students think they can ‘do’ science,” she notes. “My goal as a science educator is to make them realize they can. It is the thing I like most about teaching science. I strive to make difficult topics easy for my students to learn. My use of technology, hands-on labs, inquiry learning and a constructivist’s approach help accomplish this task to make my students successful.”

Nancy Napolillo, a parent and colleague, witnessed that success firsthand. Her daughter was Muniz’s student last year. “This was the first year my daughter had been fully engaged, and her love of science flourished,” says Napolillo. “The class was totally ‘hands-on’ and very demanding, but exciting and interesting. Her students do not mind the demands, because they know Mrs. Muniz is always readily available to provide assistance. Mrs. Muniz is one of the unique teachers who makes each child reach their full potential and always treats students with respect and fairness.” 

Muniz, a Nationally Board Certified teacher, earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees at West Virginia University at Morgantown. She continues to update her education through professional affiliations and participation in a variety of learning opportunities. Muniz is assistant coordinator of the Teacher Education Program and a member of the West Virginia Science Teachers Association, for which she served as a facilitator for the organization’s annual conference last year. She also serves as site chair for her school’s Benedum Steering Committee. Muniz further supports her community through involvement in several volunteer and “good neighbor” initiatives. 

In addition to recognition, award recipients receive a $2,500 unrestricted cash prize, a distinctive trophy and a classroom plaque. The West Virginia Foundation for the Improvement of Education makes 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. Nominations of the teachers are made by the public and selection is made by a blue-ribbon panel of the teachers’ peers – previous recipients of the award.

Arch Coal is the nation’s second largest coal producer. Nearly 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, Mo.