Education

Liberty’s Cowan Earns Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (March 5, 2006) – After more than three decades, Pattie Cowan remains devoted to her profession. “Teaching is a challenging, intellectually stimulating and fulfilling occupation,” she explains. “It gives me a lifelong opportunity to learn, express my creative abilities and interact with interesting colleagues. It is a profession where children will always be a part of my life.”

Today Cowan was reminded of yet another “perk.” She became 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.

“Pattie Cowan sees children as individuals – each different and special,” says Leer. “She also believes that education will make the difference between those who will do well in the 21st century and those who will not, a belief that I fully endorse.”

Cowan teaches first-grade students at Liberty Elementary School, Weirton, W.Va. “I believe that students are most successful when they feel valued as individuals, supported and motivated to learn,” she notes. “It is my responsibility as a teacher to create and maintain a learning environment with those things in mind.

“My overarching goal is to develop a safe, student-centered environment that reflects encouragement, risk-taking, acceptance of mistakes, and is interactive and collaborative – where students actively participate, rather than passively learn.”

“Mrs. Cowan has been a valued member of Liberty School for 31 years,” notes Betty A. McGillen, school principal. “Her positive attitude and love of children are reflected in the outstanding and creative quality of instruction she has maintained,” she adds. “Through her enthusiasm, hard work and careful planning, Liberty students are the best prepared students for their future years. I have never known a finer teacher.”

Cowan earned a bachelor’s degree at West Liberty State College and a master’s degree at West Virginia University. She also holds National Board Certification as an Early Childhood Generalist. Cowan takes advantage of numerous professional-development opportunities to keep abreast of educational research, learning theories, instructional strategies, new curricula and current issues in American education.

She is a Hancock County Teacher of the Year, a West Virginia Elementary Mathematics Teacher of the Year and a recipient of the Presidential Award in Mathematics. Cowan was instrumental in preparing an application that resulted in Liberty’s receipt of the West Virginia Blue Ribbon Award. She has contributed to numerous West Virginia Department of Education initiatives as a participant and presenter. This includes the state’s Math Task Force, in which Cowan helps provide Standards-Based Professional Development to West Virginia’s 55 county Math Leadership teams. She further supports her community through involvement in church, civic and other education-related activities.

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: www.archcoal.com.