Floyd Wins Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award

CHARLESTON, W.VA. (March 1, 2006) – School seemed like a foreign land – somewhere far away – to young Mona Wilson Floyd. “I grew up in the 1950s, when there was no kindergarten, much less preschool,” she explains. “Besides being afraid to be there, I saw no need for school, since I already knew how to read. My aunt had taught me on Sunday mornings to read hymns.

“On the first day of school I entered this new world of desks, unknown children and sitting for long periods of time. There was a new first-grade teacher there, and I believed that she was heaven sent. I fell in love with her and with school. I decided then and there to become what she was – a teacher.”

Floyd may have gotten off to a rocky start as a student, but not as a teacher. 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.

“When Mona Floyd graduated college, she went to work for a coal company and was a success. Then, she returned to her first love – teaching,” said Leer. “She has excelled in classroom teaching, just as she did business.”

Floyd teaches writing, grammar and speech to eighth-grade students at Beckley Stratton Middle School, Beckley. “I place a great deal of emphasis on integrity and honor in my students’ lives,” she notes. “Respect, responsibility, good judgment, common sense and even good manners are traits that I try to instill in my students to develop and maintain throughout their lives. Therefore, my students must see me not only as their teacher who ‘instructs’ them, but also as their teacher, who ‘lives’ what she teaches.

“We are given ‘teachable moments,’ and these are the most important times of the classroom day,” she adds. “The rewards I find in teaching are immeasurable. Teaching young people the love of writing and literature and the importance of integrity and honor provides me, and hopefully my students, a sense of excitement of what is to come in their lives.”

Floyd earned a bachelor’s degree at Glenville State College and she takes graduate classes at Marshall University. Floyd is the 2005 Raleigh County Teacher of the Year and was a state finalist for the 2005 West Virginia Teacher of the Year. She was a Raleigh County “Make a Difference” nominee and is a member of the Raleigh County Professional Growth and Development Committee and the Raleigh County 8th Grade Reading Prioritized Curriculum Committee. She is a 2006 Disney Teacher of the Year nominee and currently serves as vice chairman of the Beckley-Stratton Middle School Faculty Senate. Floyd further serves her community through involvement in community, civic, church and charitable organizations.

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: