Black Wins Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award

CHARLESTON, W.VA. (March 1, 2006) – Barbara Black knows every student can succeed. “The most important thing I do for students is instill in them a passion for learning, an appreciation for life, and a faith in their ability to achieve,” notes Black, an 11-year teaching veteran. “To accomplish this, my program invites children to continually ask questions, not to always settle for one correct answer or simple solution, but rather develop ways of thinking and communicating their learning discoveries.”

Black’s students made yet another discovery today – their teacher ranks among the best educators in the state! Black was among only 12 teachers statewide to receive a 2006 Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award. Robert W. Shanks, president of Arch Coal’s eastern operations, representing 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; First Lady Gayle Manchin; Secretary of Education and Arts Kay Goodwin; Deputy State Superintendent of Schools Dr. Jack McClanahan; and West Virginia Education Association President Charles Delauder.

“Barbara Black is a teacher who will not allow can’t in her classroom,” says Leer. “She has her students prepare an I can’t list their first day of school; then she leads a class funeral and they bury the lists. It is this kind of positive thinking that can change a child’s life.”

Black teaches third-grade students at West Teays Elementary School, Hurricane. “I love what I do and continually look for new and innovative ways to teach,” she notes. “I strive to be the role model for my students (and my colleagues) that I want for my own child. I incorporate hands-on learning, provide an assortment of classroom pets, apply a variety of teaching techniques and utilize the latest research to making learning relevant and exciting.

“I know my students are having fun and learning when I do the same,” she adds. “A quote that sums up my philosophy of teaching is, Children are a handful sometimes, but a heartful always.”

Black earned her bachelor’s degree at West Virginia State College and a master’s degree at Marshall University. She is among only 152 National Board Certified Teachers in West Virginia and serves as a mentor for other NBCT candidates. This summer, Black will work with the West Virginia Department of Education in revising current science content standards and writing test items for the standardized WESTEST achievement test. Black’s love of her Appalachian heritage and of animals is reflected in community involvement. She teaches others how to square dance and clog and volunteers her time – and 14 horses – for various events, such as parades, weddings and funerals. Black encourages her students to become involved in community activities as well. Most recently, they helped raise donations in the form of food, housing and cash for the Three Rivers Avian Center, which rescues birds of prey.

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 the West Virginia Library Commission 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 and mines clean-burning, low-sulfur coal exclusively. The company is listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: ACI) and maintains its corporate headquarters in St. Louis, Mo.

Information about each of the 12 recipients is posted on the Arch Coal Web site: