Martin Earns Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (March 5, 2006) – From a knot garden to a garden pathway, from musical bars to racing cars – mathematics is a subject to which all students can relate, according to Darlene Miller Martin.

“Being sensitive to the backgrounds and interests of high-school students can provide a basis on which to build lessons that engage and appeal to students in mathematics,” she adds. “Mastery of mathematics is essential to all careers, and I strive to give students the skills needed to pursue any career they choose.”

Martin’s own career choice certainly computes. Today she became one of only 12 teachers statewide to receive a 2007 Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award. Steven F. Leer, Arch Coal chairman 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; Arch Coal President and Chief Operating Officer John Eaves; and West Virginia Education Association President Charles Delauder.

“Wouldn’t you enjoy being a student in Ms. Martin’s classes?” asks Leer. “Imagine weaving geometry with music, construction with varied geometrical shapes, and even making bumper stickers using the concepts of ratios and spacing. It is no wonder that she is able to demonstrate math’s relevancy to her students.”

Martin teaches mathematics courses at Grafton High School, Grafton, W.Va. “I am able to empathize with students who have difficulty with mathematics through an analogy to my poor singing ability,” she notes. “I tell them I cannot carry a tune, but I can pick out a tune on the piano. Rather than give up on music completely, because I cannot sing, I embrace what is within my ability and struggle through the song.

“They may not have the most mathematical ability,” Martin adds. “But with calculators they can simplify computation, appreciate the logic of mathematics and value the role mathematics plays in their lives.”

Attorney Allison Clark Iapalucci, Martin’s former student, recalls a particularly memorable math lesson, studied in conjunction with the works of architect Frank Lloyd Wright. “He rooted some of his most beautiful stained glass windows in the ancient subject of geometry,” she recalls. “Each student was given the materials to craft his or her own window, but was required to employ the math principles Wright himself employed when crafting the window.”

Even more rewarding was the trip to Fallingwaters, a house designed by Wright in Pennsylvania, at the unit’s end. “In West Virginia, it is not unusual to find students who have never left the state, never mind visiting museums or famous landmarks,” says Iapalucci. “Mrs. Martin brought beauty and art to students not normally exposed to such elements, through the conduit of a math class.”

Miller earned her bachelor’s degree at Alderson-Broaddus College and a master’s degree at West Virginia University. She continues her education – and that of students – by taking technology courses and introducing her new knowledge to the classroom. Martin also serves as a participant and presenter in a wide range of other education-related initiatives. She has been named a Milken Family Foundation Educator and a DisneyHand Teacher Award honoree. She further supports her community through involvement in church, Alpha Delta Kappa and Partners in Education programs.

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.

The teacher recognition awards are underwritten by the Arch Coal Foundation and supported in program-promotion by the West Virginia Department of Education, the West Virginia Education Association and the West Virginia Library Commission. The Arch Coal 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, Inc. is the nation’s second largest coal producer. The company’s core business is providing U.S. power generators with clean-burning, low-sulfur coal for electric generation. Through its national network of mines, Arch supplies the fuel for approximately 6 percent of the electricity generated in the United States. 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: