Patricia Ann Porter Wins Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award 

March 15, 2005 - You never know who’ll show up to teach Patricia Ann Porter’s students. It might be Miss Maggie, Amelia Bedelia, an American pilgrim or even Mother Goose! “I perform magic by dressing in costumes and portraying story characters,” she explains. “This kind of teaching can have a dramatic effect on children, and they never forget it.

“Reading and writing are of central importance to life-long learning and engagement in a democratic society,” she adds. “I want to continue to make every effort to improve reading and writing in our school and to make an impact on parents, teachers and students.”

Porter’s impact extends much further than that. Today she was one of only 12 teachers statewide to receive 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.

“Patricia Porter 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.”

Porter teaches developmental reading at Salt Rock Elementary, Salt Rock, W.Va. “I am a skilled literacy teacher who understands the theory behind my practices. I am adept at matching curriculum objectives to model practices and model practices to children,” she says. “I do the right thing for the right reasons. I’m a woman who genuinely loves the children with whom I work every day.” 

“I see so many of Mrs. Porter’s methods of instruction still affecting my son today,” notes Jennifer Ross, whose son is now a Marshall University freshman. “Every child is an individual in her classroom. She builds their self-esteem, while giving them positive and encouraging feedback. She listens to concerned parents (believe me, I know) with such kindness and caring. Mrs. Pat Porter is an asset to our community, the county and any parent, grandparent or teacher who has been involved in her presentations.”

Porter earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees, plus 45 hours, at Marshall University, Huntington, W.Va. She is an adult tutor for the Tri-State Literacy Council and serves as co-coordinator of the Marshall University Writing Project for the New Teacher Initiative. Porter also is a “trainer of trainers” for the Framework for Understanding Poverty and the Cooperative Learning initiatives. She continues her education through participation in workshops and conferences, and her professional affiliations include Delta Kappa Gamma (Psi Chapter), the International and West Virginia Reading associations, and the Cabell County Reading and Tri-State Literacy councils. She has earned grants for her school and has been named West Virginia Reading Teacher of the Year and Cabell County Teacher of the Year. Porter further supports her community through involvement in a number of volunteer 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.