Education

Jewkes Named Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award Recipient

RICHFIELD, Utah (May 2, 2007) – As a child, Leslie Jewkes never dreamed of becoming a teacher. “In fact, I entered college with a passion for science and math and an intense desire to use those skills in medicine or engineering,” she recalls.

That changed when Jewkes took a dance class requiring her to present a lesson to elementary school children. “My partner and I planned and presented a successful lesson to a group of third-graders,” she notes. “As we were leaving, we were told the presenting team after us had walked out on a sixth-grade class because they couldn’t ‘handle them,’ and we were asked to step in. We didn’t find the class unruly. By presenting a stimulating lesson and keeping all students actively engaged, discipline problems disappeared. I was hooked! A month later, I changed my major to elementary education.”

If Jewkes’ students should become a bit unruly today, she’ll likely excuse their behavior. After all, their teacher isn’t ranked among the state’s finest every day. Jewkes is one of five teachers to earn an Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award. Steven F. Leer, Arch Coal’s chairman and chief executive officer, made the announcement during a presentation ceremony at Ashman Elementary School in Richfield. Leer was accompanied by Dixie Allen, state school board member, and Ellen Thompson, vice president of the Utah Education Association.

“Leslie so deeply believes in the ability of each child to learn that she goes out of her way to help them,” notes Leer. “In fact, each year she volunteers to take the students who have struggled with math in early grades, although well aware it presents a greater challenge. Leslie clearly defines the meaning of ‘teacher.’”

With 27 years of experience, Jewkes teaches fourth-grade students at Castle Heights Elementary, Price. “The most important thing I do for my students is to make sure they are actively engaged in learning and feel, every day, that they are valuable individuals and members of our class,” she says.

“My philosophy of teaching is summed up on a fluorescent green sticky note I have attached to the inside of my classroom desk drawer,” Jewkes adds. “In bold capital letters, it reads, ‘Find a way.’ I believe my most important job is to find the specific way to reach every child.”

Jewkes earned her bachelor’s degree at the University of Utah; a master’s degree at Brigham Young University; and Gifted Endorsement at Utah State. She participated in the Brigham Young University Leader’s Preparation Program and interned with local and state outstanding principals, including the Superintendent of Utah Schools. Jewkes served on Utah State guiding committees for early childhood and science education. She represented teachers statewide on the SESAT elementary science team and was a member of the team that wrote Utah State Core Science Curriculum and tests for grades 4-6. The Utah Science Teachers Association recognized Jewkes as an Outstanding Science Educator. She serves as a teaching coach, trainer and mentor. Jewkes and a co-worker secured six grants, totaling about $200,000, which provided computer equipment for every classroom. She further serves her community through a range of volunteer initiatives.

The award is underwritten by the Arch Coal Foundation. This is the first year the Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Awards have been presented in Utah. Classroom teachers in Carbon, Emery, Sanpete and Sevier counties were eligible. More than 150 nominations were received from the public. In addition to recognition, award recipients receive a $2,500 unrestricted cash prize, a distinctive trophy and a classroom plaque.

The Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Awards program is supported by the Office of the Governor, Utah State Office of Education, Utah Education Association, Utah School Superintendents Association, the Carbon, Emery and Sevier counties and North and South Sanpete school districts, Far West Bank, Market Express, KUSA FM/ KASL AM, and both TacoTime and Bookcliff Sales, in Price.

Arch Coal is Utah’s largest coal producer and a large state employer, with a combined workforce of approximately 800 at its Dugout Canyon, Sufco and Skyline mines. Through its combined operations, Arch Coal is one of the nation’s largest coal producers. The company is listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: ACI) and maintains its corporate headquarters in St. Louis.