Stewart Named Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award Winner

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (May 3, 2006) – Art instructor Linda Jean Stewart often talks with young people who are considering teaching as a profession. “I tell them teaching is one of the most important jobs they could do,” notes Stewart. “However, so that they have a clear understanding of what this career entails, I encourage them to get into a classroom as soon as they can to observe and volunteer.

“If, after that, they want to proceed, I encourage them to question and learn from teachers they admire and respect,” she adds. “Being a teacher is too important to do it on your own. New and prospective teachers need to take advantage of the years of experience and knowledge these master teachers have to offer.”

If anyone knows what a top teacher has to offer, it’s Stewart. Today she became one of only 10 teachers statewide 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 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.

“Linda’s colleagues know her as someone who gives generously of her time and talents,” says Leer. “Oftentimes, she purchases art materials for her students with her own money. I hope our award helps ‘pay back’ her generosity and concern for her students.”

Stewart teaches art to seventh-grade students at Sage Valley Junior High School in Gillette, Wyo. “Where other teachers fail in gaining students’ friendship, Ms. Stewart picks up the slack,” says Dreana Smith, one of Stewart’s former students. “Her students trust her and value her as a person, not only as a teacher.

“She taught me so much about art, from basic design to color coordination – and not only about art, but also about life,” adds Smith. “My life has been thoroughly enhanced by her. I only hope that when I go to college I can find someone who can enrich my life as much as Ms. Stewart has.”

Stewart earned her bachelor’s degree at South Dakota State, Brookings; and a master’s degree at Lesley University, Cambridge, Mass. She holds National Teaching Certification in Adolescent Through Young Adulthood Art. Stewart created a staff development class that helps teachers incorporate arts throughout the curriculum. She has taught the program at the Wyoming State Reading Council Conference and at workshops throughout the region. Stewart is a Wyoming Elementary Art Educator of the Year and an American Legion Educator of the Year award recipient. She has had two articles published in School Arts, a national magazine.

Stewart and her students raised funds for a tent to be used as a classroom in Afghanistan, where her brother-in-law was stationed. They raised enough to purchase four tents, instead. Stewart participates in other community-related arts initiatives as well.

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: