Education

Arch Coal Names Shomo Teacher Achievement Award Recipient

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Feb. 27, 2008) – Love and respect are primary aspects of Kimberly Shomo’s teaching philosophy. “We as teachers not only need to love the students, but also teach them to love and respect themselves,” notes Shomo, who’s taught for more than two decades. “A classroom where everyone feels respected creates a wonderful atmosphere for learning.

“I always tell my students at the beginning of each new year that we are a family and everyone’s feelings are important,” she adds. “They are taught to respect the different learning styles and abilities of each member of our class ‘family.’ In this manner, they feel safe and secure in participating in class discussions and activities.”

Today Shomo garnered the respect of another segment of her extended family – fellow teachers and colleagues. She was among 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.

“Kimberly Shomo shows her students love and respect, and they know it’s sincere,” notes Leer. “She believes the most important thing she can teach them is to believe in themselves – while encouraging them to reach for the stars.”

Shomo teaches third-grade students at Richmond Elementary, South Charleston. Each year, she takes her class on an overnight trip, during which students participate in courses ranging from pond ecology, fishing, canoeing, archery and entomology to hunter safety, soil conservation and plant identification.

“At night, we have a campfire, complete with singing and smores, and then hike to a telescope operated by the Kanawha Valley Astronomy Association to enjoy a fabulous star show,” she notes. “This is an experience that extends above the curriculum and teaches children to love and appreciate nature. It also allows them to participate in some activities they may never have a chance to do otherwise.”

Shomo earned her bachelor’s degree at West Virginia State University and she’s taken 23 hours in counseling at the graduate level. She continues her education and professional development through participation in numerous training sessions, workshops and related initiatives. Shomo received the Kanawha Valley Golden Apple Award for work with children impacted by ADD/ADHD. She serves on a State Department of Education Committee charged with developing new science items for the state standardized test. Shomo also serves on an Instructional Framework Science Revision Committee with Kanawha County and is the Professional Development School Site Based Coordinator for her school’s partnership with West Virginia State University. Shomo further supports her community through involvement in civic, community and educational programs and activities.

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.