Education

Parfitt Earns Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (May 3, 2006) – Earth and space science teacher Kim Allyn Parfitt describes her classroom as lively with discourse and authentic work. “Students have used actual satellite data to track and graph solar storms, investigated real dinosaur bones and fossils from Wyoming and explored our ice age past on fields trips,” Parfitt notes. “We are now collecting data for inclusion in a national database to track winter storms, and professional scientists from NASA visit my classroom nearly every month to demonstrate the relevancy of what students are learning.

“I expect my students to wonder,” she adds. “Kids move, things explode, grow, or even shrink. Questions constantly happen, and they know there is not always one right answer. They are safe to question.”

Here’s a fact that can’t be questioned – Parfitt ranks among the top educators in the state. Today she was one of only 10 teachers throughout Wyoming to earn a 2006 Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award. Steven F. Leer, Arch Coal chairman and chief executive officer, made the announcement during a presentation ceremony this afternoon at Parfitt’s school, Johnson Junior High School. He was accompanied by Gov. and First Lady Dave and Nancy Freudenthal; Mary Kay Hill, director of administration for the Department of Education; Wyoming Education Association Executive Director Jean Hayek; and Arch Coal President and Chief Operating Officer John Eaves.

“Kim Parfitt has faith that all students can learn, which I believe should be a paramount belief for all teachers,” says Leer. “She seeks help and support from colleagues and professional organizations so that her students may achieve at higher and higher levels. That, in turn, makes her classroom a place of excitement and learning.”

Parfitt teaches earth and space science to eighth-grade students at Johnson Junior High School, Cheyenne, Wyo. “The most important thing I do for my students is to let them know I believe in them,” she notes. “They know that I love science, but they also know I love teaching. When they walk into my classroom, they know I am glad to see them and can’t wait to get started.

“I teach because I can make a difference,” she adds. “Writer Fred Beuchner describes this as ‘the place where your deep gladness and the world’s hunger meet.’ Since I began teaching in the fall of 2002, I have found what I was craving.”

Parfitt earned her bachelor’s degree at Michigan State University, a master’s degree at The Ohio State University and teacher certification at the University of Wyoming. She continues her development through a variety of classes, workshops and programs. Through Parfitt’s involvement, Johnson Junior High became one of only 50 schools nationwide – and the only one in Wyoming – to be named a NASA Explorer School. She helped students develop a communication plan to address misconceptions about Johnson Junior High School in the community. Parfitt has been a Girl Scout leader for four years.

In addition to recognition, teacher achievement 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, Loaf ‘n Jug, and the Wyoming Library community in program promotion. This is the sixth 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 produces more than 90 million tons of clean-burning, low-sulfur coal annually at its Wyoming operations. The company’s Black Thunder operation in Campbell County is one of the nation’s largest and most efficient coal mines. Arch Coal is traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: ACI) and maintains its corporate headquarters in St. Louis, Mo.

Information about each of the recipients is posted on the Arch Coal Web site: www.archteacherawards.com.