Education

Johnson Named Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award Recipient

GILLETTE, Wyo. (May 6, 2008) – There is a triangular relationship between school, home and student, according to Jenny Johnson, a third grade teacher at Crest Hill Elementary, Casper.

“I remind my students’ parents that it takes both school and home to create a life-long learner, and I am always open to suggestions and comments,” says Johnson, who as a teacher, must also be counselor, nurturer, entertainer and parent.

Today, Johnson’s meaningful career contributions as a classroom teacher were celebrated. She was one of only 10 Wyoming teachers to be named a 2008 Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award recipient. The awards were made at a ceremony at Campbell County High School, where Arch Coal Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Chairman Steven F. Leer, Governor Dave Freudenthal, Wyoming Superintendent of Public Instruction Dr. Jim McBride, and Wyoming Education Association President Kathryn Valido honored the recipients.

“Jennifer Johnson is a consummate planner,” says Leer. “The lights are on in her classroom well before and after school hours. She combines planning and hard work with imagination and creativity, and her students are the beneficiaries.”

Teaching in a rural one-room school in Natrona County to her present position represents a 12-year journey – and one not yet finished. “My strengths are flexibility, being educated about multiple intelligences, communicating with parents and accepting diversity,” says Johnson. “All these qualities combined to make me a good teacher and give me the inspiration to become a great teacher.

“I live by the motto ‘I will treat my students the way I want my own children to be treated – with kindness and respect,” she says. “I will never forget the time one of my students asked me where I worked. I said ‘I work here,’ and she said, ‘Well you don’t make it look like work.’ That was the best compliment I could ever receive.”

“Mrs. Johnson provided the individual attention to my daughter to maker her feel successful and eager to learn, even though she had 22 other students,” says Jill Bader, parent of a former student of Johnson’s. “She had the humor and structure to make students feel comfortable to explore on their own. The children feel comfortable to take a risk!”

Johnson has a Bachelor of Science degree from Panhandle State University, Goodwell, Okla., and a Master of Arts degree from Lesley College, Cambridge, Mass. She also has achieved National Board Certification and has 60 hours of post-master’s degree studies. She is her school’s math leader, participates in her child’s PTO, and is involved at the local Boys and Girls Club.

The award is underwritten by the Arch Coal Foundation. 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, all former recipients of the Arch Coal award.

This is the eighth 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 its Thunder Basin Coal Company subsidiary employs more than 1,200 people in Wyoming. Thunder Basin’s Black Thunder and Coal Creek mines sell more than 90 million tons of cleaner-burning, low-sulfur coal on an annual basis. Arch Coal is traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: ACI) and maintains its corporate headquarters in St. Louis, Mo.