Arch Coal Names Ellis Teacher Achievement Award Recipient

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Feb. 27, 2008) – One word sums up why Robin Michelle Ellis became an educator – destiny. “Simply put, teaching is my calling,” she explains. “While I am not entirely clear why I was called to teach, I know education is where I can have the greatest impact.

“Though I realize that teaching is not for everyone, I am certain that I made the right career choice,” Ellis adds. “You either love it or you do not – and I do.”

Furthermore, it shows. Today Ellis 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.

“Robin Ellis recognizes the need to prepare students for success today and tomorrow,” notes Leer. “She ensures her ability to do so by continually updating her own education and pursuing numerous professional development opportunities – all to her students’ benefit.”

With more than six years of experience, Ellis teaches English courses at Gilbert High School. “The most important thing I do for my students is to simply give them what they need,” she notes. “I make every effort to design my teaching around their needs rather than the demands of a particular skill or text.

“When I plan lessons, I begin by asking myself what my students should know and be able to do at the end of the lesson and then move on to designing the actual content,” she adds. “Every class, every student is different, but I make every attempt to help my students understand that the world they will inhabit after graduation – whether it is the world of post-secondary education or the workforce – is not absolute.

“In fact, the rate of technical information is predicted to double every two hours by 2010,” Ellis adds. “This being the case, I push them to not only live in this 21st century world, but to experience it.”

Ellis earned her bachelor’s degree at Bluefield State College, Bluefield, and plans to pursue National Board Certification. She serves as a presenter for various professional-development programs and continues her own professional development/education through a wide range of initiatives and opportunities. Ellis is the 2004 Matewan High School Teacher of the Year and the 2005 and 2008 Gilbert High School Teacher of the Year. She further serves her community through volunteer initiatives, such as WE CAN (We Can Help Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect).

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.