Education

Mair Named Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award Recipient

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (May 1, 2007) – Juanita Sue Mair compares teaching and learning to a journey by train through an ever-changing landscape. “My students and I share an exhilarating experience, but it is not without bumps and unexpected turns,” she explains.

“Sometimes I’m an engine that pulls; other times one that pushes. But most of the time, I’m an engineer, focusing the energy of a roomful of 12- and 13-year-olds, encouraging them to move themselves in the right direction,” she adds. “Our journey never really ends, as I try to inspire my students to a life of continued learning.”

Although the journey never ends, the learning train made a brief layover today – in honor of its engineer. Mair 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.

“Juanita goes out of her way to ensure students stay on the right track in terms of education and self-esteem,” says Leer. “Knowing the value of communication, she often talks with and listens to her students, helping resolve their struggles – both academic and personal. Juanita helps them prepare for all aspects of life.”

Mair teaches sixth- and seventh-grade students at Mountain View Middle School. “Everyone takes our journey. Whether they enjoy it or not, and whether they are able to take routes of their choosing, depends on the quality of their education,” she notes. “Quality education depends on quality teaching. A good education allows travelers to read their options. The more one knows, the more choices open down the track.

“Lack of basic skills, or worse yet, not seeing education’s usefulness, limits people to journeys chosen by others,” she adds. “A teacher’s love of learning, combined with an ability to make school meaningful for students, opens opportunities.”

Mair earned bachelor and master’s degrees and a graduate certificate in Middle Level Math at the University of Wyoming. She has been a participant and teacher in the Wyoming Writing Project and has provided literacy mentoring in her school district. Mair is a 6 Traits Writing coach and literacy facilitator, responsible for staff development and modeling best-practice lessons. She further supports her community through involvement in church, 4-H, American Cancer Society and other education-related activities. “As a teacher, a learner, a citizen and a parent, my goal is to leave the landscape improved and my path worth following,” Mair says.

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.