Ryan Wins Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (March 5, 2006) – Nancy S. Ryan usually can’t sleep the night before school starts – not from worry, but anticipation. “I am so excited about the new academic year ahead of me,” notes Ryan, who has been a teacher for more than 25 years. “I face each day with the same excitement and delight I remember having as a child.

“I do not feel that I chose teaching – teaching chose me,” she adds. “That is why … I still get excited at the beginning of each new school year!”

Ryan was chosen again today. She was 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.

“As a Spanish teacher, Nancy Ryan’s assignments don’t stop at her classroom door,” says Leer. “Her students enjoy many opportunities to have contact with native Spanish speakers – clubs, community activities, festivals, pen pals. As a result, her students have a greater understanding of other cultures that extend beyond learning the language.”

Ryan teaches Spanish courses at Hedgesville High School, Hedgesville, W.Va. “I serve as both a facilitator and a learner in my classroom. From my students, I learn how to be a more effective teacher,” she notes. “I love my work, and I believe that this love helps my students enjoy their work, too.

“I share my experiences in life, learning, teaching and traveling with my students to increase their knowledge,” Ryan adds. “I strive to move beyond the textbook to enhance learning, even with the most challenging students!”

Ryan’s former student Alyson L. Benton says, “Because of Ms. Ryan, I was able to achieve dreams that I never thought were possible.” Benton, now the recreation coordinator for Martinsburg-Berkeley County Parks and Recreation, further explained, “She is a wonderful role model and exemplifies everything that a teacher should be.”

Ryan earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees at West Virginia University. She has completed coursework and exams for a doctoral program in applied linguistics and holds national board certification in World Languages Other Than English. She continues her development through travel, community outreach and participation in curriculum-related initiatives. Ryan volunteers for a wide range of school activities and organizations. Working with WVU, she also helped set up a Spanish Immersion Festival for students in a tri-county area. More than 300 students participated in the event, which featured native speakers from many countries.

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: