Education

Arch Coal Names Curry Teacher Achievement Award Recipient

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Feb. 27, 2008) – Kimberly Curry’s teaching philosophy is based on mutual respect. “In order to show respect to learners, learning should be meaningful and teachers should develop personal relationships with their students,” she notes. “If students know you respect and like them, and if you respect yourself and like your work, they will respond to you and, therefore, respond to what you are teaching.

“It’s not as much about what you teach as it’s about who you teach and developing a positive relationship with them,” Curry adds. “By your actions, you teach them that learning is a desirable, respectable goal and that you believe they are worthy of learning and reaching their goals. The what is important, but only when the who comes first.”

Today Curry ranks among an impressive list of “who’s.” She is one of only 12 West Virginia teachers to receive 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.

“Kimberly Curry takes a different approach to science, by showing students the beauty of the world around them,” notes Leer. “She also brings relevancy to the topic by demonstrating how science impacts all of our lives.”

With 25 years as an educator, Curry teaches science to sixth-grade students at Eastern Greenbrier Middle School, Ronceverte. Where possible, she incorporates new technologies, such as virtual labs, Brain Pop videos and Google Earth, into her teaching strategies. “New technologies keep learning fresh and push me to keep up with what students are doing in their worlds,” she notes.

“Learning new things motivates me, but seeing how excited the students get when they learn or see something ‘cool’ is more rewarding, because I believe they are appreciating the beauty of nature and how everything works together,” she says.

Curry earned a bachelor’s degree at West Virginia University and a master’s degree at the West Virginia College of Graduate Studies. As a member of a county teacher/leader team, she wrote science questions for the W.Va. Department of Education Office of Assessment. Curry chairs a school action team aimed at increasing family and community involvement. She served as project director for the school science fair last year, in which 64 projects were judged. She also participated in a flex-class collaboration with the Greenbrier River Watershed Association, Marshall University and Greenbrier East High School. Curry further serves her community through education-related extracurricular activities and a wide range of church-related volunteer initiatives, such as Habitat for Humanity, Coats for Kids and Operation Christmas Child.

In addition to recognition, award recipients receive a personal, $2,500 unrestricted cash prize, a distinctive trophy and a classroom plaque. Also, the West Virginia Foundation for the Improvement of Education, a foundation of WVEA, provides public schools of the recipients with $1,000 grants 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, 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.