Education

Horace Mann Middle School’s Singleton Receives
Arch Coal Achievement Award

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (April 17, 2009) – Ray Singleton says the most important thing he does for his students is to have high expectations of them.

Today, Singleton realized some high expectations himself. He 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.

“Ray Singleton understands that his students learn at different rates and in different ways,” says Leer. “This shapes his instructional methods, which must oftentimes have multiple facets to best reach his students. I’m impressed that he uses blogging as a method to get his students involved and interested in English.”

Singleton is a sixth grade English, language arts and social studies teacher at Horace Mann Middle School in Charleston. He sets high, but reachable goals for his students. “From classroom behavior to class participation to higher level thinking skills, I continually demand that my students do better, try harder and think more deeply than ever before,” says Singleton. “I care deeply about the subject matter I teach. My interest and enthusiasm are contagious and help my students get excited about learning.”

“Mr. Singleton cares about us as people, not just students,” says his student Peyton Panger. “He wants us to succeed and is always willing to listen and help. He makes learning fun. He focuses on learning, not just grades. I believe my classmates and I are lucky to have him!”

Singleton has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Charleston and a master’s degree from the West Virginia College of Graduate Studies. He also has National Board Certification and is working on a Ph.D. He has taught for 25 years, with 22 years in the Kanawha County schools. He is an adjunct professor at the Marshall University Graduate College and also has studied cooperative learning at Johns Hopkins.

Active in his community, Singleton and his wife regularly contribute to a local Manna Meals program and support the Special Olympics. He took the “polar plunge” this year to help raise hundreds of dollars for local Special Olympics athletes. He has served as a faculty senate president, been involved with his Local School Improvement Council and with his school’s parent-teacher organization. He also has volunteered for several years with his county’s Teachers’ Academy and volunteers with his school’s music program

“I enjoy teaching more than anything else I do,” says Singleton. “I love helping students discover their own capabilities. Most of all, I value learning myself, whether I am learning about new teaching methods, investigating new technology, discovering a new children’s novel I know my students will love, or taking classes in pursuit of my doctoral degree.”
Successes are often small, but successes keep Singleton in his classroom and drive him to improve his own skills. He gives the example of his student, Jermere, who after reading Where the Red Fern Grows, said, “That’s the best book I’ve ever read. What are we reading next?”

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.