Education

Nethercott Wins Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (May 1, 2007) – Having earned bachelor and master’s degrees in geology, Mark A. Nethercott fully intended to pursue a career in the petroleum industry. “But jobs in this field were depleted, due to depressed oil markets worldwide,” he recalls.

After counseling with his thesis chairman, Nethercott decided to earn a teaching certificate and bide his time until the market improved. He then landed a job in a small high school in Utah’s west desert. “I could not believe how much fun I’d had teaching and how much joy I got from working with young people,” he adds.

It’s 22 years later, and Nethercott is still having fun. 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.

“In his fourth year of teaching, Mark got an opportunity to work as a geologist, but it was too late; he was hooked,” notes Leer. “Mark had already discovered he had the talents to teach and touch students’ lives, and he wanted to do that. Today, we honor him for sticking with teaching – and for ranking among Wyoming’s best.”

Nethercott teaches geology, chemistry and physics courses at Star Valley High School, Alton. “I have no regrets about living the life of a teacher,” he notes. “I’ve committed myself to this ‘noble and honorable profession’ in many ways.

“Reflecting upon my life as a teacher and upon the thousands of young lives and minds I’ve been able to positively influence, I am grateful for a slow job market in the oil industry and a wise professor who led me to a wonderful career in education.”

Nethercott earned an associate’s degree at Ricks College, Rexburg, Idaho; bachelor and master’s degrees at Brigham Young University, Provo; and he is working on National Board Teaching Certification. He keeps abreast with ever-changing educational methodology through courses, conferences, workshops and associations related to his field. His professional affiliations include the National Science Teacher’s Association, the Geological Society of America, and the American Association of Physics Teachers. He is the 2007 Teacher of the Year for the Lincoln County School District and the 2007 Wyoming Teacher of the Year. Nethercott further supports his community through a range of volunteer initiatives, including the Boy Scouts of America, little-league baseball, the Relay for Life cancer fundraiser, church and other education-related activities.

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.