Parkersburg High School’s Sayre Awarded
Arch Coal Achievement Award

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (April 17, 2009) – “The beauty of being a teacher is that the learning process never stops,” says Patty Florence Sayre.

Today, the learning process had to stop for a few minutes to allow for the cheering. Sayre 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.

“Patty Sayre succeeds when she is able to convince a student that a high school education is a necessity,” says Leer. “She is making a difference in her students’ lives by keeping them interested in school and learning.”

Sayre teaches 10th grade English at Parkersburg High School. “Teaching and learning can only happen in today’s classroom if a bond is created between the student and the teacher,” believes Sayre. “The teenager’s philosophy –‘if no one cares about me, why should I care about me?’ – is annihilating our window of opportunity in education. I feel students must know that educators care.”

“I might be the only presence of kindness, patience or understanding in a student’s life each day,” says Sayre. “If I can touch the life of a student in a positive way, I will have the student who will work at his or her best to please me and then internalize the motivation to please himself or herself.”

Parkersburg High School Principal Ralph Board says Sayre is a team player. “Her role as the English Department chair is to represent all the English teachers on the curriculum team. She always approaches every decision with the attitude of ‘what is best for all students,’ not just her department. She has the respect of the entire faculty,” says Board.

Sayre has spent all but three of her 37 years of teaching in the Wood County schools. She has an associate degree from Ohio Valley College, a bachelor’s degree from David Lipscomb College and a master’s degree plus 45 hours of additional college credits from West Virginia University. She has been honored locally as an Exceptional Teacher by a local store, has been the Language Arts Teacher of the Year in RESA V District, been the Wood County Teacher of the Year and a first runner-up for the West Virginia Teacher of the Year. She serves as one of three judges for the Wood County Spelling Bee, is her school’s senior class co-sponsor and is a past member of her school’s Local School Improvement Council.

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: