Tennerton Elementary School’s Linger Receives Arch Coal Achievement Award

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (April 17, 2009) – When Cathy Linger’s kindergarten classes start in the fall, her students’ parents get a copy of her packet, “The ABCs of Mrs. Linger’s Kindergarten.” It is a handbook about classroom routines, expectations, schedules, discipline and the veteran school teacher’s philosophy.

Today, no one needed a handbook to share in the excitement of the day. She was one of only 12 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 Clay Center in Charleston. He was accompanied by West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin, First Lady Gayle Manchin and West Virginia Education Association (WVEA) President Dale Lee.

“Cathy Linger is often the first teacher a child has in school,” says Leer. “She realizes that teaching is not just about children learning math or reading. It is about nurturing independent thinkers who will become responsible citizens with admirable character traits. She accomplishes this by being a good role model and by working with each individual child.”

Linger teaches kindergarten at Tennerton Elementary in Buckhannon. She uses centers in her classroom for language arts and math enrichment. She divides her students into cooperative groups to practice skills they have learned and then works one-on-one with any child that needs help. She is excited with the technological progress that is being made in classrooms – quite an advancement from when she first began teaching in 1977. “Then, I had to research activities, buy resources and then create or reinvent most of my materials so I could challenge the children in my classroom,” says Linger. “My materials were ‘teacher-made’ and my home was often cluttered with coloring books, construction paper, scissors, glue and markers.”

“Cathy Linger has a great ability to teach her kindergarten students with love and compassion, all the while expecting them to be rigorously learning,” says Cynthia Nesselroade, a literacy coordinator and reading consultant. “If you were to walk into Cathy’s room at any time of day, you would see the same thing – children getting what they need. I often use her classroom as a model when training teachers on meeting the needs of individual students.”

Linger’s 32-year teaching career has been spent entirely in the Upshur County schools. She has a bachelor’s degree from Fairmont State College and a master’s degree plus 45 hours of additional college credits from West Virginia University. She has attended numerous workshops, has been selected for the West Virginia Teachers Academy, has presented at many county teacher workshops and has mentored new kindergarten teachers in Upshur County. She also has served on her school’s improvement council, curriculum team and as chairperson, vice-chairperson and secretary of her school’s faculty senate. She has been her county’s teacher of the year and its elementary teacher of the year.

Her community activities include a variety of posts within her church and helping local sports organizations with everything from fundraising to working in a concession stand. She also has supported the booster club for the high school softball team and was a vice president of the Show Choir Boosters. She is active in her school’s PTO and with food drives and other school programs that help needy families.

In addition to recognition, award recipients receive a $3,500 unrestricted cash prize, a distinctive trophy and a classroom plaque. The West Virginia Foundation for the Improvement of Education, a foundation of WVEA, makes a $1,000 award to each recipient’s school, 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, the 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.

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

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. In West Virginia, Arch Coal subsidiaries operate the Mountain Laurel and Coal-Mac operations. The company is listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: ACI) and maintains its corporate headquarters in St. Louis, Mo.