Watts Wins Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award

CHARLESTON, W.VA. (March 1, 2006) – “Twenty-nine years of teaching is a big achievement, because I have helped to shape hundreds of lives,” notes Pamela Rae Maze Watts, in looking back over her teaching career. “It is thrilling to read about the doctors, lawyers, teachers, secretaries, businessmen and other professionals who are my former students. They are my living achievements. My commitment is to make each year better than the last and to strive to reach out to help each of them become the positive, successful person they were meant to be.”

Watts’ students could not have asked for a better role model. 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.

“You must be impressed with a teacher who has been in the classroom for almost three decades, yet is excited to come to school each morning,” says Leer. “Pam Watts exults in seeing her students succeed. For example, struggling students are seen by her as challenges to find the right strategy that will help them achieve.”

Watts is not a teacher one soon forgets, according to former student Darren G. Greathouse. “Even though 25 years have passed, the lessons I learned in her classroom are etched in my memory,” he says. “Mrs. Watts always made learning fun, but more importantly, she made it interesting for the students by challenging them to think for themselves. Her lessons were never boring.

“She instilled in me a sense of drive and a mindset not to give up, even when the effort seems futile,” Greathouse adds. “For example, my science fair project that year was on spiders and had an elaborate display with detailed drawings and a lengthy, handwritten report. I mistakenly threw the project away after the county science fair, not realizing it was to be displayed just two days later for the PTA.

“Upon learning this, I became very upset and worried. Mrs. Watts came to the rescue and encouraged me to re-create the entire project in record time,” Greathouse says. “Mrs. Watts believed in me, and I could not have done it without her. To this day, when I am pressed for a deadline, I remember Pam Watts. I cannot think of a more deserving recipient for the Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award.”

Watts earned her bachelor’s degree at West Virginia University, and a master’s degree at Marshall University. She completed another 45 credit hours and continues her development through conferences and workshops. Watts created a “Walking for Books” program to help students develop healthy bodies and minds, and she developed “The Wall of Fame” to showcase students’ accomplishment, help improve self-esteem and maximize potential. Watts has participated in a wide range of education-related initiatives at the local, district and state levels throughout her career. She served as president of the Alpha Delta Kappa teacher’s sorority for two years, and was featured in Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers for 2005 and in Who’s Who Among American Women for 2006. Watts received the Leading Educators of the World Award in 2005.

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: