Education

Arch Coal Names Wilson Teacher Achievement Award Recipient

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Feb. 27, 2008) – Terilyn Barrett Wilson recalls the struggle her aunt overcame during the 1950s in getting an education, despite paralysis from polio. “Tutored by a dedicated teacher, my aunt was able to graduate without having attended a single day inside a classroom,” says Wilson. “While this was an accomplishment that received national attention, I realized, even as a young child, just how unfair it was that she had been denied the opportunity to attend public schools solely due to her perceived disability.”

Wilson became determined to do something to ensure the benefits of a public education would be available to all children. “My opportunity was realized when I entered college in a brand new field of special education,” she says. “Over the course of my career, it has been my privilege to participate in this wonderful transition and to witness the renovations in special education, so that today every child, regardless of limitations or exceptionalities, is afforded the opportunity to participate in the adventure of learning.”

Perhaps the strength of character and determination she witnessed in her aunt influenced Wilson in yet another way – to be the best teacher she could be. Today Wilson 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.

“Terilyn Wilson strives to prepare her students to compete in a global society,” says Leer. “She guides them to think both critically and creatively to solve real-world problems, function cooperatively in team situations and exercise sound written and oral communication competencies. Most importantly, she encourages compassion and tolerance toward others.”

With 34 years of experience, Wilson currently teaches reading courses to fifth-grade students at Chapmanville Middle School, Chapmanville. “I incorporate a variety of strategies and techniques into my instruction, in order to analyze the interests, strengths, weaknesses, goals and learning styles of my students. Knowing each child personally is vital to understanding the child’s problems and aspirations,” she notes.

“Having acquired this basic knowledge of my students, I then design units of study that will motivate and challenge them,” says Wilson. “Immersing students in the process of learning enables them to make connections and assimilate knowledge in a meaningful way. Therefore, my students not only utilize their textbooks, but also are exposed to a wide variety of quality novels and magazines that spark their interests and enable them to be more aware of the world in which they live.”

Wilson earned bachelor and master’s degrees at Marshall University, and she has achieved certification in three areas of special education: mentally impaired, learning disabilities and behavior disorders. Wilson also has taken courses for middle school endorsement. She has participated in a wide variety of workshops, conferences, academies and memberships throughout her career, representing Logan County in the first West Virginia Teacher Leadership Training Conference last summer. Wilson’s professional affiliations include the International Reading Association, the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development and Kappa Delta Pi. She is the recipient of six nominations for inclusion in Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers, Who’s Who in America, Cambridge Who’s Who Among Executive and Professional Women in Education and Marquis Who’s Who. Wilson was named 2007 Logan Wal-Mart Teacher of the Year and 2008 Logan County Teacher of the Year. She further serves her community through involvement in church, civic, human services and environmental volunteer 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.