Education

Miller Named Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award Recipient

GILLETTE, Wyo. (May 6, 2008) – Before becoming a teacher, Kathy Miller had a career in industry. “With my experiences, I am able to relate class work with the real world,” she says.

Miller, who teaches chemistry and physics at Campbell County High School, has now been in the “education business” for 12 years.

Today, she added another real world experience to her teaching credentials. She was one of only 10 Wyoming teachers to be named an 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 Steven F. Leer, Governor Dave Freudenthal, Wyoming Superintendent of Public Instruction Dr. Jim McBride, and Wyoming Education Association President Kathryn Valido honored the recipients.

“Kathleen Miller brings her life experiences, her subject matter knowledge, and her love of learning into her classroom every day,” says Leer. “Her classroom is filled with ‘hands-on’ projects that better develop learning.”

Miller believes the brain stores memories, not facts. So, her students are actively involved in projects that are essential to understanding abstract science concepts and that also develop teamwork.

“Students build balsa wood bridges, create musical instruments to investigate sound waves, design mousetrap cars to calculate kinetic energy and construct hot air balloons to prove gas laws,” says Miller.

“The more connections that can be made, the better they appreciate the marvels of science that surround them,” she says. “As a teacher, I observe students experiment, discover and grow.

“Teaching cannot be stagnant. Science concepts change very little, but teaching techniques and technology are constantly changing,” Miller states. “To meet the demands of my students, I need to be actively engaged in the learning process as well.”

“Mrs. Miller brings her ‘A’ game every day to every class through her attitude, humor, and efficiency that she pushes for in every student,” says former student Miles Fortner, who is now a college student. “Each student who passes through Mrs. Miller’s class is influenced in some way by one of those three factors.”

Miller has a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, Rapid City, her teaching certification from Regis University, Denver, and a Master of Arts degree in education from the University of Wyoming. She participates in the WyTriad in order to implement meaningful standards in the classroom, has taken general education courses to increase her understanding of how the brain receives and processes information, and has taken classes to help her incorporate technology in her classroom. Miller is a member of the National Science Teachers association. She also has served on the North Central Accreditation Writing and Mission and Vision committees.

She is active in her community, serving in leadership roles in her church, and as assistant speech and debate coach for the high school and middle school teams. She also has been active in various capacities with the Wyoming Girl Scout Council.

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.