Education

Seegmiller Named Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award Recipient

PRICE, Utah (May 8, 2008) – If you are a student in Renae Seegmiller’s math class at North Sevier High School in Salina, you understand that every minute in her class is an opportunity to learn – and that learning takes place from “bell-to-bell.”

Seegmiller, who teaches elementary algebra, college algebra, trigonometry and advanced placement statistics, has been a teacher for 21 years, the past two at North Sevier High School. She arrives at school at 5:30 a.m. and is often the last to leave school, because she spends extra time with students who need help with math.

Today, Seegmiller was rewarded for her classroom teaching excellence and became one of only five Utah teachers to be named a 2008 Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award recipient. Announcement of the award was made at a ceremony at Castle Heights Elementary School by Arch Coal, Inc. Senior Vice President of Operations Paul Lang. He was joined by President of Arch Western Bituminous Group Gene DiClaudio, General Manager Wess Sorenson of Skyline mine, General Manager Ken May of Sufco mine and General Manager Erwin Sass of Dugout Canyon mine. Also at the ceremony were Ms. Dixie Allen, state school board member, and Jim Porter, High Desert UniServ director for the Utah Education Association.

“Renae Seegmiller has high expectations for her students,” says May. “She prepares and works with her students so that they can succeed at high levels.”

This is the second year the Arch Coal Foundation has sponsored the teacher recognition program in Carbon, Emery, Sanpete and Sevier counties. The counties surround Canyon Fuel Company’s Dugout Canyon, Skyline and Sufco coal mines owned by Arch Coal, one of the nation’s largest coal producers.

“Math is not a spectator sport,” says Seegmiller. “It is something students should participate in every day.” To ensure this, Seegmiller’s students have opportunities every day in her classroom to answer questions and she gives homework that consistently pushes her students to think, but which is not burdensome.

“It is not just what Mrs. Seegmiller teaches me in math that makes her special,” says North Sevier High School student body President Wendy Bosshardt. “It is the life skills she teaches along the way. Dedication, perseverance, hard work, compassion and patience are just some of the many things I have learned personally just by being around her.”

Seegmiller’s teaching philosophy, which she rephrases as her ‘philosophy of learning,’ is that students retain learning when they construct it themselves. Research into why students fail to remember concepts indicates that this occurs when the new learning is not connected to prior knowledge, according to Seegmiller.

To provide this setting, Seegmiller’s ideal classroom is one that is open, where she serves as facilitator and asks questions, and where students think critically and gather ideas from each other. In this way, students connect new knowledge to prior knowledge so that the new learning is meaningful.

Seegmiller has a Bachelor of Science degree from Westminster College in Salt Lake City and a master of arts degree from Brigham Young University. She has been a doctoral fellow with the Center for Learning and Teaching in the West and is presently a doctoral candidate through the University of Montana. She also works with the high school’s drama department, assisting with plays and musicals.

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.

Supporters of the program include the Office of Governor Jon Huntsman, Utah State Office of Education, Utah Education Association, Utah School Superintendents Association, Carbon County School District, Emery County School District, Sevier County School District, North Sanpete School District, South Sanpete School District, Far West Bank, Market Express, radio stations KMTI, KLGL, KMGR, KSVC, KCYQ, KOAL, KARB, KRPX, and both TacoTime and Bookcliff Sales in Price.

Through its national network of mines, Arch Coal provides the fuel for approximately 6 percent of the electricity generated in the United States. Arch Coal’s Canyon Fuel Company is Utah’s largest coal producer and a large, state employer with a workforce of approximately 800. Arch Coal is listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: ACI) and maintains its corporate headquarters in St. Louis, Mo.