Paw Paw Elementary’s Helmick Receives Arch Coal Achievement Award

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (March 9, 2010) – During college, Anne E. Helmick worked as a counselor at a camp for troubled children. “What started as a way to earn money for college became the collective experience that shaped me as a teacher,” says Helmick. “When the children arrive, they are frustrated failures, but by the time they leave, they receive awards for what they have achieved. Campers succeed because they get individual attention from caring teachers who use positive reinforcement and hands-on activities. These teachers never give up.”

That’s an attitude Helmick adopted, and it has served the seven-year teaching veteran well. Today she was one of only 12 teachers statewide to receive a 2010 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, West Virginia Education Association (WVEA) President Dale Lee and Dr. Steven Paine, state superintendent of schools.

“Anne Helmick is a team player – making education a collaborative process that involves students, parents, faculty and administration,” says Leer. “She encourages all educators to keep lifting limitations on themselves and their students. Helmick’s motto is keep lifting.”

A Berkeley Springs resident, Helmick teaches sixth-graders at Paw Paw Elementary. “Although I am the ‘regular ed’ teacher, I have students who are learning disabled, autistic and gifted,” she says.

On difficult days, she continues to draw upon her Camp Nuhop experiences. “I learned that although failure is sometimes inevitable, giving up is unforgivable, she adds. “I will not give up on any student.” Furthermore, Helmick knows all her students have gifts. It’s up to her to discover them. “That is my mission. That is my passion. That is why I teach,” she says.

Helmick earned a bachelor’s degree and Specific Learning Disabilities endorsement at West Virginia Wesleyan College, Buckhannon. She has served as a team leader and Faculty Senate president and was selected to attend the Teacher Leadership Institute. Helmick also has served on the Textbook Committee, Advanced Placement Vertical Team and Classroom Assessment Network. She has coordinated her school’s Positive Behavior Support Program and its social studies and science fairs, as well as the Morgan County Social Studies Fair. She has presented at the county level for staff-development venues and serves as a mentor teacher. Helmick has been nominated for Morgan County First-Year Teacher of the Year, the DisneyHand Teacher Award and Morgan County Teacher of the Year. The Morgan County Board of Education has twice recognized her with Extra Miler awards. Helmick further supports her community through involvement in church, community and civic organizations.

In addition to recognition, awardees 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 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 supports teacher-recognition or grant programs in Wyoming, Utah and Colorado, as well as a number of other education-related causes.

Arch Coal is the nation’s second largest coal producer. Through its national network of mines, Arch supplies the fuel for approximately 8 percent of the electricity generated in the United States. In West Virginia, Arch Coal subsidiaries operate the Mountain Laurel and Coal-Mac complexes. The company is listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: ACI) and maintains its corporate headquarters in St. Louis, Mo.