Kristina Sue Butler Earns Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award

May 3, 2005 – Kristina Sue Butler decided to become a teacher when she was still in elementary school. “I was the child who played school, wanted to spend time with my teachers and focused on helping those kids in my class who were not always accepted by others,” she recalls. “I always knew that I would grow up to be a teacher.

“Teaching is the one profession where one can truly affect the life of another,” Butler adds. “It is a profession that carries with it much responsibility and understanding of children. It is something that calls to a person and doesn’t let you go until you heed the voice.”

Today that voice led Butler in yet another direction. She became one of only 10 teachers statewide 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 this afternoon at Buffalo Ridge Elementary School. Leer was accompanied by Governor Dave Freudenthal, Wyoming First Lady Nancy Freudenthal, Wyoming Department of Education Chief of Staff Lisa Skiles Parady, and Wyoming Education Association Executive Director Jean Hayek.

“Because Wyoming is fortunate to have so many dedicated, caring and qualified teachers, our award selection process is extremely competitive,” said Leer. “Kristina Butler is one of our company’s neighbors, as she teaches just a few miles from our major coal mining operation in Wyoming.

“The judges for our awards are all current or past classroom school teachers and no Arch Coal person is involved in the judging process” Leer explained. “When I saw that a teacher in Wright was selected, I was not only pleased for her, but also for our employees who live there. Every Arch Coal employee understands the importance of teaching excellence and what excellent teachers can do for all the children in Wyoming.”

Butler teaches sixth-grade students at Cottonwood Elementary, Wright, Wyo. “Kris Butler is a one-in-a-million teacher,” notes Debbie Dryer, whose son was Butler’s student. “She possesses all the qualities that an excellent teacher should possess. She is kind, caring and compassionate. Kris goes above and beyond what she has to do to make sure her students succeed. A child’s self-esteem is as important to Kris as academic success. 

“As a former teacher myself, I know what a difficult job teaching can be,” Dryer adds. “Kris does this job with grace and never forgets to put the children first.”

Butler earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the University of Wyoming, Laramie. She has served on her school’s leadership team and helped her principal develop a new peer-teaching program for use in the special education classroom. Butler also has helped develop school policy and was involved in parent education meetings. She served as chairman of her school’s NCA (North Central Association) school-improvement process and is a Fulbright Scholar. Butler further serves her community through participation in a wide range of additional education and civic-related activities and programs.

In addition to recognition, teacher award recipients collect a $2,500 unrestricted, personal cash award, a distinctive trophy and a 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 Loaf ‘n Jug in program promotion. This is the fifth year Arch Coal has made the awards in Wyoming.

Arch Coal is the nation’s second largest coal producer and employs approximately 900 people in Wyoming. Arch Coal’s Black Thunder mine sells more than 90 million tons of clean-burning, low-sulfur coal on an annual basis. Located in Campbell County, Black Thunder mine is one of the largest and most efficient coal mines in the world. Arch Coal is traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: ACI) and maintains its corporate headquarters in St. Louis, Mo.