Education

Collins Middle School’s Minter Receives Arch Coal Achievement Award

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (March 9, 2010) – Greg Minter grew up in the small, rural town of Ansted, before the New River Gorge Bridge and Route 19 connected the town to the rest of the world. “I knew little of the opportunities that were available beyond my town,” recalls Minter. “However, my teachers encouraged me and made me feel valued; they made learning fun and gave me choices. My teachers made a difference in my life, which inspired me to do the same for my students,” he adds. “I hope that I am living up to their legacy.”

Today Minter received confirmation that he achieved that hope. He 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.

“Greg Minter believes the key to motivating students is to enable them to feel valued and to recognize any progress they make and encourage it, even if it’s not academic progress at first,” says Leer. “Greg makes a difference by giving students encouraging words to lift them up, and then challenging them to move forward.”

Minter has spent his entire, 31-year teaching career in the Fayette County School District, with 28 of those years as a band, chorus and music instructor. He is still a resident of Ansted and currently teaches math to sixth-grade students at Collins Middle School, Oak Hill. “All students come to class with different backgrounds, strengths, weaknesses and attitudes,” says Minter. “Therefore, each student is unique, and that uniqueness must be accommodated in a classroom; there is no ‘one size fits all.’ As a teacher, I must recognize and use that individuality while adapting instruction and guiding a class to the end goal of learning.

“The bottom line is that I am the most important variable in the learning experience of my students,” he adds. “Textbooks, curriculums, resources and teaching trends all change. My job is to make it all come together for the benefit of the students. It is not the textbook series or other resources given to me, but rather what I do with them that makes the difference.”

Minter earned a bachelor’s degree at the West Virginia Institute of Technology, Montgomery, and a master’s degree at West Virginia University, Morgantown. He also has achieved 30+ hours beyond his master’s degree requirements and earned endorsement to teach math through algebra 1. Minter attends county workshops on math and learning-focused strategies and has received additional training through the West Virginia High Tech Consortium. Yet the most significant steps taken to improve his teaching methods have been through the People to People International Student Ambassador Program, says Minter. Founded by Dwight Eisenhower, the program promotes world peace by allowing students to experience the cultures of other countries firsthand. First as a volunteer and now as a primary leader for People to People, Minter has prepared and guided students through Australia, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, France, England, Spain, Monaco and Hungary. He also has completed training in Web page design and further serves his community through church and civic-related 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.