Christensen Named Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award Recipient

May 3, 2005 – Kathy Christensen likens teaching to a sunny day. “When the sun shines, I feel a renewed energy, just like the energy I get from my students when they shine in their successes,” she explains. “When the sun shines, I feel joyful, just as I do when working with children and listening to their creative, humorous remarks. When the sun shines, I feel like going on an adventure, just as teaching is an adventure that lasts the whole year. 

“When the sun shines, I excitedly anticipate the day, just like the anticipation I feel when introducing a fun activity I know students will embrace,” Christensen adds. “When a sunny day comes to an end, I am filled with satisfaction – just like the satisfaction and fulfillment teaching gives me.”

Today yet another ray of sunshine fell upon Christensen. 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. “We have recognized several wonderful teachers from Casper in the past and this year is no exception. Arch Coal is proud to honor Kathy Christensen with a 2005 award.”

Christensen teaches fifth-grade students at Crest Hill Elementary, Casper, Wyo. “Students comes to me with a multitude of needs,” she notes. “Some students need enrichment, some need modifications, some need extra care, some need a tender heart, some need to be challenged, and some need to build up their confidence. Whatever their needs, my students are always treated fairly and given whatever accommodation they need to experience success. I try to meet all of their learning styles by varying the types of activities I offer to them.

“Celebrating a student’s accomplishments is a must,” Christensen adds. “Rejoicing in learning builds confidence in students.”

Christensen earned an associate’s degree at Casper College, Casper, Wyo.; a bachelor’s degree at the University of Wyoming, Laramie; and a master’s degree at Lesley University, through Casper Outreach. She continues her education through a variety of developmental initiatives. Although Christensen has earned numerous prestigious awards and honors, she is most proud of achievements that personally benefit her students. She further supports her community through participation in a number of betterment activities.

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.