Morrow Earns Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award

May 3, 2005 – LaVonne Loraine Morrow credits her father with her decision to become a teacher. “My father was a very intelligent man, and although he only went through eighth grade, he understood the value of education and hard work,” she notes. “I am glad to say that he was able to pass that understanding on to his four daughters, and we each began early to work hard and to value education.

“I have been in the education field for almost 40 years now, and I feel that one of the most important things I do for myself is to continue to value education and learn,” Morrow adds. “I am always looking for ways to improve as an educator that will help me meet the needs of my students.”

Today Morrow may want to take a break in her search and spend time savoring her achievements, instead. She is 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.

“When our children begin school, we hope they have a kindergarten teacher like LaVonne Morrow,” said Leer. “It is so important that children start their education with someone who has high expectations for them and can teach them how to learn. LaVonne’s teaching philosophy reinforces Arch Coal’s vision to recognize outstanding teachers who challenge their students to succeed –and then show them how.” 

Morrow teaches kindergarten students at Pershing Elementary, Rawlins, Wyo. “I think the most important thing a teacher can do for children is to recognize their uniqueness and their different abilities,” she says. “A child has to learn that they can be successful. Children in their early years depend on others to show them how to succeed.

“I want every child to know that, while a task may seem difficult, with help it can be accomplished,” Morrow adds. “I believe that a kindergarten student should be treated with the same dignity, respect and caring attitude I expect for myself.” 

Morrow earned her bachelor’s degree at Chadron State College, Chadron, Neb., and completed postgraduate studies at the University of Wyoming, Laramie. She continues her education through conventions, coursework, developmental conferences and training programs. She has received a number of awards and honors throughout her career, including nomination for State Teacher of the Year in 2001. Morrow teaches Boy’s Town parenting classes throughout Carbon County. She has been a Brownie and a 4H leader, a Red Cross member and a Big Brothers Big Sisters participant.

In addition to recognition, teacher award recipients receive 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.