Wilson Receives Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (May 1, 2007) – Mary Ann Wilson takes pride in setting up her classroom and daily routine so that things can run smoothly in her absence. “The students know where most everything is located, and they are encouraged to help hand out things and put them back in their proper places,” she notes.

“The classroom and all the learning materials therein belong to all of us,” she adds. “It is treated with respect so that others may use it in the future. We are a supportive learning community.”

Wilson now has a plaque to share with her classroom community, naming her among Wyoming’s finest teachers. She is 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.

“Mary Ann says the most important thing she brings to her classroom is the belief that everyone can succeed in learning,” says Leer. “Even though it sometime requires extra effort in terms of ‘thinking outside the box,’ she does whatever it takes to make learning happen.”

With 26 years of experience, Wilson teaches fourth-grade students at Dildine Elementary School, Cheyenne. “The strengths I bring to the profession are an insatiable appetite for learning new things, a high-energy approach to teaching and empathy for those who learn things more slowly than others,” she says. “I want to help others appreciate the joy of becoming ‘lifetime learners.’ The more knowledge you acquire, the more doors open to other, related areas.”

A parent of one of Wilson’s students describes her classroom as a whirl of activity. “She engages the students in a variety of creative projects that permit them to bring together many facets of their learning,” says attorney Sylvia Lee Hackl. “Mary Ann cares about each child. She relates to them as the maturing human beings they are, expecting them to be responsible for their work and giving them every chance to succeed.”

Wilson earned an associate’s degree at Cottey College, Nevada, Mo.; a bachelor’s degree at the University of Wyoming; and a master’s degree at Lesley College, Boston, Mass. She holds an endorsement in Music K-12 and is a Golden Apple award winner through her local television station. Wilson further supports her community through volunteer church and extracurricular 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.