Fairplains Elementary’s Stone Receives Arch Coal Achievement Award

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (March 9, 2010) – Any number of things may have influenced David R. Stone’s decision to teach. Perhaps it was the fact that his mother completed a 63-year teaching career, making the profession second nature to him. Then again, it may have been the smell of new crayons or a special lunchbox. In any event, if you ask Stone why he became a teacher, he’ll likely respond, “How could I have been anything else?”

No matter what influenced Stone’s decision to teach, he now ranks among West Virginia’s best. Today Stone 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.

“Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery, and today is a gift, which is why they call it the present. That simple phrase is part of David Stone’s teaching philosophy,” says Leer. “It’s a classic statement that helps center David and drive his success in the classroom.”

An Elizabeth resident and 35-year veteran educator, Stone teaches gifted third- through fifth-grade students from Wood County at Fairplains Elementary, Parkersburg, and first- and second-grade gifted students at two other schools in the Wood County district. “My motivation to continue teaching comes from several directions and, to borrow a technology term, is vectored,” he says. “The vector for me has always been that teaching, as an occupation, is slightly ahead of its time. I find the challenge of riding the point of that vector to profoundly impact my own learning and that of those around me,” Stone adds. “I expect the same in return from students, because the best teacher is a good learner.”

Stone earned a bachelor’s degree at Marietta College, Marietta, Ohio, and two master’s degrees, plus 45 hours, at Marshall University, Huntington. He has achieved middle school generalist and MOUS (Microsoft Office User Specialist) certifications and is a lead teacher for primary gifted services in Wood County. Stone has participated in the Wood County Teacher’s Academy, the Governor’s Institute for Professional Development and a K-12 Internet training Teacher Leader Conference.

He is a recipient of the Raymond G. Guthrie prize for outstanding Student Teaching. Stone has been awarded two National Science Foundation fellowships and has served as a site trainer for two U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) Challenge grants. He taught Curriculum & Instruction 558 online through the University of Phoenix and served as a master trainer for the W.Va. Department of Education on a statewide Content Standards Objectives Project. One of his classes was selected as a SAREX (Shuttle Amateur Radio Experiment) school, giving students an opportunity to communicate with astronauts aboard a space shuttle. Stone is a member of the International Alliance for Invitational Education, and he teaches after-school amateur radio classes. Stone further supports the community through involvement in soccer, Scouting, Adopt-A-Highway and church programs.

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.