Taggart Wins Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (May 3, 2006) – Shan Rae Taggart believes she was destined to become a teacher. “As a child, playing school was a favorite pastime, and throughout my school years, many of my fondest memories included my teachers,” she notes. “I enjoyed interactions with kind and dedicated teachers, who encouraged me to study the flute, feel confident with math, participate in high school sports, and to become a teacher like them.

“My parents confirmed the importance of education as a profession,” Taggart adds. “They constantly encouraged me to graduate from college. They supported me both emotionally and financially – with teaching as a goal. Their belief was that teaching afforded a woman the benefits of having both a meaningful career and a family life. At the time, I did not relate to their reasoning. Since then, I have often appreciated it. My experiences as a classroom teacher are some of the best of my life.”

Today Taggart can add yet another experience to her fond memories. She was 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.

“I knew that our judges had chosen wisely when I read that Shan Rae Taggart felt that her classroom teaching experiences are some of the best experiences in her life,” says Leer. “Here is someone who feels privileged to influence young lives by being a teacher.”

Taggart teaches at Wapiti Elementary near Cody, Wyo. “I believe all students can learn,” she notes. “As the teacher, it is my responsibility to facilitate learning for all students in the most effective and enjoyable way possible. Some students are visual learners, and some learn best with auditory support. Some are kinesthetic learners or a combination of all these. I must take all learning styles into account in my classroom. I must also consider that students learn at different rates.

“I am optimistic and energetic about teaching,” Taggart adds. “I am willing to work hard. I am willing to ask for advice, to try new approaches. I expect to put in long days and carry homework home with me at the end of the day. I’m a teacher!”

Taggart earned bachelor’s degrees at Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah; and the University of Wyoming. She continues her development through courses offered by her district’s administration and plans to continue working toward a Master’s Degree in Education through the University of Wyoming. Within the community, Taggart supports and participates in a range of historical, arts, music, political, church, education and other initiatives.

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: