Christy Gill Wins Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award

CHARLESTON, W.VA. (March 1, 2006) – The old saying, “Success breeds success,” is true, according to Christy Gill. “I believe that teachers can point out the small successes within each lesson,” she notes. “Recognizing each small success is an encouragement that opens the door for students to expect other successes. I try to make sure they know they are important and their ideas are important. Feeling valued gives students confidence.”

In that case, Gill’s own confidence must be soaring today. She 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.

“Christy Gill is symbolic of the ‘special teachers’ we have found throughout West Virginia,” says Leer. “Her students benefit in many ways, not just in their artistic creations, but also by gaining in confidence and self esteem as their works are publicly displayed in the community.”

Gill teaches art, computer and enrichment courses at Divide Elementary and Nuttall Middle schools at Lookout, W.Va. “One of the ways I show students I value their work is by showing it in local public forums,” she notes. “Some of the places I have displayed work are public libraries, grocery stores and post offices. I keep an ongoing show of every student’s work in the school cafeteria, and this year I requested that the Fayette County Board Office allow me to display my students’ artwork at the county board office lobby.

“My students have received many national and local awards for their work by participating in local, state and national displays,” she adds. “They have won savings bonds, a variety of prizes and recognitions. Art is not only about understanding art, artists and theory; it is also about creating art, honoring innate talent and developing skills. My students strive for excellence in their own work and have been rewarded for their efforts.”

Gill earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees and additional endorsement from Marshall University. She continues her development through participation in a range of training/education opportunities, including travel. As a recipient of a Fulbright Teachers Memorial Fund Scholarship, she traveled to Japan for a month, to learn more about Japanese culture. She volunteered with People to People International as the primary delegation leader on four educational programs. Gill took high school students to Australia twice through the Student Ambassador Program, and last year she took an alumni delegation of middle school students from all over the United States on a 21-day trip to China. She served as a team leader for the Sports Ambassador Program and accompanied the American high school girls basketball team to Holland for international competition involving nine countries. In 2005, Gill also volunteered to facilitate middle school students in the World Leadership Forum in Washington, D.C. During the course of her 26-year career, Gill has earned numerous awards and honors. She further supports her community through involvement in a range of education-related, community and civic initiatives.

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.