Helen Browning Curry Wins Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award

March 15, 2005 - Helen Browning Curry believes all students can learn and deserve to do so in a safe, warm, loving environment. “It is up to me to provide that safe haven and find the methods that best suit the needs of my students,” she says. “As a teacher, I need to do more than just give information. I need to give my students the skills and tools to allow them to be successful later in life.”

Curry’s students have an outstanding guide for success – their teacher ranks among the state’s best. Today Curry became one of only 12 West Virginia teachers to earn a 2005 Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award. Steven F. Leer, Arch Coal president and chief executive officer, made the announcement during a presentation 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.

“Helen Curry 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.”

Curry teaches special education classes at Burch Elementary, Delbarton, W.Va. “The most important thing I do for my students is that I never give up on them; I am one of their strongest advocates,” she says. “I would consider one of my strengths to be perseverance, which has allowed me to experience success with students in situations where others have failed or given up,” Curry adds. “I am not afraid, nor feel it is a weakness, to ask for help or suggestions. Collaboration between colleagues and parents is essential to better educational growth for all of our students.”

Curry earned both bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Marshall University in Huntington, W.Va. She has achieved National Board Certification and is currently working on administration certification. She teaches education classes at Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College, mentors two first-year teachers, and is one of five teachers in the county participating in the Differential Instruction Cadre. Curry continues her development through a range of education-related initiatives and has received a variety of grants and awards. She further serves her community through involvement in local government, civic, and education activities.

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.