Arch Coal Names Shomo Teacher Achievement Award Recipient

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Feb. 27, 2008) – Michelle Lynn Shomo is always happy when a young person tells her they are going to become a teacher. That’s likely because she loves it so much. “There are few things as exciting in life as seeing children create, problem-solve and learn,” says Shomo, who’s been teaching for 31 years.

“My philosophy of teaching is to love children, believe that all children can learn and believe that I am the teacher that will make a difference for them,” she adds.

Today Shomo got a chance to experience her philosophy’s validity. 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.

“Michelle Shomo believes the time students spend in her classroom should be memorable and goes out of her way to make that happen,” says Leer. “She also creates an environment in which children need not fear making a mistake by telling them mistakes are interesting and that they can always learn from them.”

Shomo teaches third-grade students at Montrose Elementary, South Charleston. “I am motivated to continue teaching because I, myself, love to learn,” she notes.

“The most important thing I do for my students is to help them become successful learners,” Shomo adds. “I address students’ needs and individual learning styles by always assessing what my children know and how I believe they each learn best.”

Shomo earned a bachelor’s degree at Marshall University, and a master’s degree at West Virginia University. She’s also a National Board Certified Teacher. Achievements most important to Shomo include being named KCCTM (Kanawha County Council Teacher of Mathematics) Teacher of the Year; writing third-grade thematic units; working on 21st century science curriculum guides; serving as a peer coach leader and being the first teacher-in-residence at West Virginia State University. Shomo’s community service revolves around church and extracurricular education initiatives.

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.