Education

Staker Receives Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award

PRICE, Utah (May 8, 2008) – Ed Staker tells his students at North Sanpete High School in Mt. Pleasant that “high school is like building a foundation – you can’t live in it, but it makes a huge difference in how the house turns out.”

Today, for ensuring that thousands of his students in his 32 years of teaching had excellent educational foundations, Staker was one of only five Utah teachers to receive a 2008 Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award. Announcement of the award was made at a ceremony at Castle Heights Elementary School by Wess Sorensen, general manager of Skyline mine. Sorensen was joined by Jim Porter, High Desert UniServ director for the Utah Education Association.

“A teacher who always has time for his students, who always goes beyond the scope of their duties and who has the respect of colleagues and students alike is typified by Ed Staker,” says Sorensen.

“My greatest personal reward comes from former students who come back as successful people and tell me ‘thanks’ for creating an interest in science,” says Staker. “When former students become doctors and pharmacists and thank me for providing a solid foundation or say ‘you made science interesting and because of that, now I’m a doctor,’ it makes my teaching career worthwhile.”

Staker has taught biology, chemistry and human physiology at North Sanpete High School since 1984.

“A teacher who loves his subject, who loves learning in general, who sincerely cares about the students’ well-being and who makes learning fun and challenging has the opportunity to be a powerful influence for good. This is my basis and motivation for teaching,” Staker says.

Staker tries to introduce his students to as many branches of science as possible, with experiences varying from growing plants to homework experiments that include making butter, yogurt and sauerkraut, and even independent research on topics ranging from viruses to worms to grizzly bears. “I demand my students’ best efforts,” says Staker. “I make them take responsibility for their actions – good and bad – and challenge them to rise above their comfort zone, to expand their capacities, and teach them to be more knowledgeable than ever before.”

“I recognize Mr. Staker as one of the top five influences in my educational career,” says former student, Dr. Robert Slack. “His influence over four years of my life was more important than just the subjects he taught.”

Staker holds an associate degree from Snow College and a bachelor’s degree from Utah State University. He is active in his church and, at school, has served as chairman for a number of activities, including chairmanship of the homecoming parade and the Junior Class prom, Sterling Scholar committee member. He also has served as Science Department chair and has coached basketball, tennis and baseball. After his retirement from coaching, the school district named the North Sanpete High School baseball diamond “Ed Staker Field.”

In addition to recognition, award recipients receive a personal, $2,500 unrestricted cash prize, a distinctive trophy and a classroom plaque. Nominations of the teachers are made by the public, and selection is made by a blue-ribbon panel of the teachers’ peers.

This is the second year the Arch Coal Foundation has sponsored the teacher recognition program in Carbon, Emery, Sanpete and Sevier counties.

Supporters of the program include the Office of Governor Jon Huntsman, Utah State Office of Education, Utah Education Association, Utah School Superintendents Association, Carbon County School District, Emery County School District, Sevier County School District, North Sanpete School District, South Sanpete School District, Far West Bank, Market Express, radio stations KMTI, KLGL, KMGR, KSVC, KCYQ, KOAL, KARB, KRPX, and both TacoTime and Bookcliff Sales in Price.

The counties surround the Dugout Canyon, Skyline and Sufco coal mines owned by Arch Coal, Inc., one of the nation’s largest coal producers. Through its national network of mines, the company provides the fuel for approximately 6 percent of the electricity generated in the United States.

Arch Coal is Utah’s largest coal producer and a large, state employer with a workforce of approximately 800. The company is listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: ACI) and maintains its corporate headquarters in St. Louis, Mo.