Education

Arch Coal Names Peel Teacher Achievement Award Recipient

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Feb. 27, 2008) – Cynthia A. Peel says being an effective teacher is extremely hard work. “I have worked for a major corporation and owned my own business, and I have never worked harder than I do as a teacher,” she notes.

“Although I believe that higher levels of compensation would attract more talent to the teaching profession, the true rewards of teaching are intrinsic, and the call to be a teacher is undeniable in those for whom teaching is the right path,” Peel says.

Peel received one of those intrinsic rewards today. She became one of only 12 teachers statewide to earn a 2008 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, West Virginia Superintendent of Schools Dr. Steve Paine and West Virginia Education Association (WVEA) President Charles Delauder.

“Cynthia Peel didn’t follow a traditional career path to the teaching profession,” says Leer. “Instead, she first chose to enter the corporate world. We’re very grateful that Cynthia eventually answered the call to teach a love of learning to our children.”

Peel teaches fifth- and sixth-grade students at Greenbrier Episcopal School, White Sulphur Springs. “I believe the single most important thing I do for my students is to know them, accept them and appreciate them for who they are and what they each bring to the classroom,” she notes.

“With my acceptance, they better understand themselves,” says Peel. “Acquiring a fuller appreciation for their own gifts gives them the confidence and motivation they need to strive to reach their levels of personal best. My hope is that after their time with me they will continue to value themselves and the power and importance of learning, so that they will be lifelong learners.”

Peel earned a bachelor’s degree at James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Va., and is in the process of earning a master’s degree at Old Dominion University Norfolk, Va. She also has obtained National Board Certified Teacher (NBCT) status. “I chose to participate in the NBCT process because I felt that it was an unparalleled opportunity to grow as a teacher,” she notes. “I have always been a lifelong learner, dedicated to searching out the newest and best instructional methods and strategies, and I fully intend to continue to grow with a rigorous program of self-study.” Peel further serves her community through involvement in church and community arts-related initiatives.

In addition to recognition, award recipients receive a personal, $2,500 unrestricted cash prize, a distinctive trophy and a classroom plaque.

The teacher recognition awards are underwritten by the Arch Coal Foundation and supported in program-promotion by the West Virginia Department of Education, WVEA 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 is one of the nation’s largest coal producers. 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.