Sundance High’s Schnorenberg Earns Arch Coal Achievement Award

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (April 29, 2009) – Bernie Schnorenberg can’t say he always knew teaching would be his destiny. “I was supposed to become an engineer, but after two years in college I got sidetracked by the draft and four years in the Navy,” he recalls. “When I returned to school, I found physics to be more challenging than engineering and earned my degree. I then learned the hard way that Wyoming had few positions for physics majors, so I returned to college to find a field that would allow me to make a living and to make a difference.

“Dr. Sam Harding, a physics professor and one of the finest teachers I have ever known, suggested I turn to teaching,” he adds. “Following Dr. Sam’s advice has allowed me to touch the lives of students who have become wonderful, productive citizens.”

“Dr. Sam” is one more example of how teachers change lives. His few words of kindly advice led Schnorenberg to not only become a teacher, but also to become one of Wyoming’s finest. Today he was among only 10 teachers statewide to receive a 2009 Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award. Steven F. Leer, Arch Coal chairman and chief executive officer, made the announcement during a presentation ceremony at the Buffalo Ridge Elementary School. Leer was accompanied by Wyoming Governor Dave Freudenthal, First Lady Nancy Freudenthal, Wyoming Superintendent of Public Instruction Dr. Jim McBride and Wyoming Education Association (WEA) Vice President Craig Williams.

“Besides providing the skills and knowledge required for his students to graduate and succeed, Bernie Schnorenberg believes the most important thing he gives his students is respect,” says Leer. “He respects them as individuals and, more importantly, he respects the fact that they can all become successful.”

A 32-year educator, Schnorenberg teaches math, geometry, physics, college algebra and trigonometry at Sundance High School. “Mr. Schnorenberg has such passion for math and for assisting the kids that he should be commended,” says student Kelly O’Connor. “He is the smartest man I have had the pleasure of meeting. With that and his passion, he reaches many of the students in the math division of our school. I have always liked math, but his passion has made me love it.”

Schnorenberg earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the University of Wyoming and has achieved 70-plus hours in post-graduate education. He was Wyoming’s first recipient of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics Teaching and Wyoming’s 2000 Teacher of the Year. He actively works with PAWS (Proficiency Assessments for Wyoming Schools) and has served four years on the city council. He also served on the Crook County Library Board and is currently a member of the P-16 Education Council.

The award is underwritten by the Arch Coal Foundation. In addition to recognition, award recipients receive a personal, $3,500 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, all former recipients of the Arch Coal award.

This is the ninth year the Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Awards have been made in Wyoming. The program is supported by the Department of Education, the Wyoming Education Association, Taco John’s, Loaf ‘N Jug, and the Wyoming library community.

The Arch Coal Foundation also is a supporter of teacher recognition or grant programs in West Virginia, Utah and Colorado, as well as a number of other education-related causes.

Arch Coal is one of the nation’s largest coal producers, and its Thunder Basin Coal Company subsidiary employs more than 1,200 people in Wyoming. Thunder Basin’s Black Thunder and Coal Creek mines sold 100 million tons of cleaner-burning, low-sulfur coal in 2008. Arch Coal is traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: ACI) and maintains its corporate headquarters in St. Louis, Mo.

Information about each of the 10 recipients is posted on the Arch Coal Web site: