Hayes Middle School’s Mathis Receives Arch Coal Achievement Award

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (April 17, 2009) – Students in science teacher Carol Mathis’ classroom look forward to winning the annual egg drop, when her sixth graders work in teams to develop a container to drop an egg from a 70-foot ladder – without breaking the egg.

Today, it was Mathis’ turn to receive accolades for her winning classroom teaching. Mathis 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.

“Carol Mathis has high expectations for all her students,” says Leer. “She prepares them for the real world by teaching them critical thinking, problem solving, communication and teamwork. She also works closely with her colleagues so that subject matter is integrated in a unified, school-wide framework.”

Mathis teaches at Hayes Middle School, St. Albans. Her science students are involved in field trips and after school events, in addition to their classroom studies. Mathis says she finds that problem-based learning is one of the most effective learning methods, because “it is real world, relevant and reaches auditory, kinesthetic and visual learners.”

“Teaching is not only motivating students to learn, it is knowing what they should learn,” says Mathis. “Teaching with rigor, relevance and relationship building is a meaningful way to create 21st century learners. Having fun doing it keeps the students focused.”

“Mrs. Mathis maintains an extremely high standard for her students, academically as well as personally,” states Martha Sue Marshall, the Parent Volunteer Coordinator for Hayes. “She is dedicated to science, to education, to her students, her school and her community. I am most impressed by and in awe of, her endless energy and her continuous quest to find new information and ideas that is surpassed only by her eagerness and excitement to bring those ideas into her classroom.”

Mathis has taught science in the Kanawha County schools for 24 years. She has a bachelor’s degree from West Virginia State College at Institute and a master’s degree plus 90 hours of additional college credits from West Virginia College of Graduate Studies. Mathis also has achieved National Board Certification. She is the co-director of the Central West Virginia Summer Writing Project at Marshall University’s graduate college, a past recipient of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching at both state and national levels, a St. Albans Teacher of the Year, a GLOBE (Global Learning to Benefit the Environment) trainer and has been the recipient of a National Consortium for Teaching About Asia, which included a three-week trip to China and South Korea. The trip to Asia, says Mathis, has increased her understanding of why we need to think globally.

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.

Information about each of the 12 recipients is posted on the Arch Coal Web site: