Shoults Wins Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (May 1, 2007) – Christopher James Shoults does what it takes to help ensure his students grasp what he’s teaching. That includes incorporating math, video games, and even Skittles* candy into his language arts courses. “I create access to students’ modes of living and thereby to their modes of learning,” he explains.

Whatever the means, Shoults is obviously doing it right. Today he became one of only 10 teachers statewide to earn an Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award. Steven F. Leer, Arch Coal chairman and chief executive officer, made the announcement during a presentation ceremony at Afflerbach Elementary School in Cheyenne. He was accompanied by Governor Dave Freudenthal, First Lady Nancy Freudenthal, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Dr. Jim McBride, and Wyoming Education Association President Kathryn Valido.

“Chris Shoults is the type of teacher that both students and parents respect and enjoy,” says Leer. “He shares his passion and excitement for learning each and every day, while challenging his students to think and write in new and different ways.”

Shoults teaches language arts at Torrington High School, Torrington. “As teachers, we can’t be afraid to learn – to try new things, to take chances, to do things that have never been done before,” he notes. “In a profession ever increasingly boxed in by accountability, consistency and continuity measures, it occurs to me that those who are willing to be fiercely creative and daring will endure.

“They’ll do what I do every day: don some courage, take on the critics and ‘think outside the bun’ to shape the next generation of divergent thinkers, articulate communicators and critical, resourceful citizens.”

Shoults earned bachelor’s degrees in English and English Education at the University of Wyoming, Laramie. During the 2001-2002 school year, he completed a special assignment with the Wyoming Department of Education’s Wyo.BEST (Better Education Through Standards and Technology) Project. He fielded a primary campaign for State Superintendent of Public Instruction, which made him more aware of education in a global sense. In July 2003, Shoults was appointed by Governor Dave Freudenthal to serve a four-year term on the Wyoming Education Planning and Coordination Council. In 2006, he ran for the Wyoming Senate. He has presented at the National NCA Conference, participated in the Wyoming Teacher Policy Institute and worked with Phil Schelchty’s “Working on the Work” Trailblazer group. Shoults has directed five musicals and three plays. His acceptance to the University of Wyoming master’s program in curriculum and instruction represents the next adventure in Shoults’ pursuit of lifelong learning.

The award is underwritten by the Arch Coal Foundation. In addition to recognition, award recipients receive a $2,500, unrestricted cash prize, a distinctive trophy and a classroom plaque.

This is the seventh year the Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Awards have been made in Wyoming. The program is supported by the Department of Education, the Wyoming Education Association, Taco John’s, Loaf ‘n Jug, and the Wyoming library community.

Arch Coal is one of the nation’s largest coal producers and employs more than 1,200 people in Wyoming. Arch Coal’s Black Thunder mine sells more than 90 million tons of clean-burning, low-sulfur coal on an annual basis. Located in Campbell County, Black Thunder mine is one of the largest and most efficient coal mines in the world. Arch Coal is traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: ACI) and maintains its corporate headquarters in St. Louis, Mo.