Spring Mills’ Hamilton Receives Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (March 9, 2010) – Eighteen-year teaching veteran Carol Hamilton feels fortunate to have a job that is not just a paycheck. “It is a passion for me because I enjoy the students; they are funny, caring, curious and challenging,” explains Hamilton. “Enjoying kids has to be the most important reason for anyone entering the teaching profession.”

Today word of Hamilton’s passion spread throughout West Virginia. 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.

“Carol Hamilton says one of the most important aspects of her role as an educator is to ensure her students become advocates for their own learning,” says Leer. “She believes that if she can encourage her students to investigate and problem solve, they will want to continue to learn and grow as individuals and become successful adults.”

Hamilton teaches social studies to sixth- and seventh-grade students at Spring Mills Middle School, Martinsburg. “Providing a safe haven is the most important thing I can do for some of my students,” she notes. “By creating a classroom where they can be comfortable, understand that they are cared for and that failed attempts are celebrated as learning experiences, I can go a long way toward building students who can work toward becoming productive members of our global society.”
Hamilton earned a bachelor’s degree at Shepherd University, Shepherdstown, and has achieved National Board Certification. She is working toward a master’s degree at West Virginia University, Morgantown, with plans for completion in 2010, along with an additional 45 hours of graduate credit. Hamilton has participated in the West Virginia Department of Education Differentiated Instruction Cadre. She also has served on a Pre-AP Vertical Team and the county’s Curriculum Mapping Committee; co-designed and presented various education-related modules at the school, county, state and national levels; and co-presented at a National Middle School Association’s Annual Conference. She is leading the way in design of problem-based learning units that combine content and improve 21st century skills.

Hamilton is a recipient of an Arch Coal Golden Apple Award. She has been named A Caring Educator for Berkeley County and was a finalist for 2009 Berkeley County Teacher of the Year. Hamilton leads the school’s recycling program and Earth Day activities. She also facilitates a community service project called Honor Drive, through which students organize and raise funds that enable WWII veterans to travel to Washington, D.C., visit the memorials and have lunch at the capitol. She recently received a $118,000 grant for use in constructing sidewalks that connect her school to a neighboring development and will encourage walking and biking for students and adults alike. Hamilton further serves her community through involvement in church, civic and community-betterment initiatives.

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.