Education

Buffalo Ridge Elementary’s Titchener Receives Arch Coal Achievement Award

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (April 27, 2010) - After nearly three decades of teaching, Kindergarten teacher Jaci Titchener still looks forward to the start of each school year. “The beginning of the year is exciting, while discovering the strengths and weaknesses of my students,” she notes. “Building on these strengths and seeing a child achieve that ‘light bulb moment’ is the motivation I need to continue teaching.

“For instance, when I taught one student how to zip his coat, I watched as he tinkered with the zipper, and his eyes glowed when he did it all by himself,” Titchener adds. “After I modeled how to stretch out sounds in words for another student, she carefully said her thoughts slowly and wrote several sounds in every word in her journal. After reading, she proudly jumped up and down, saying, ‘I did it! I did it!’”

After Titchener’s own newly announced achievement, she might take a cue from the latter student. Today she was one of only 10 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 Wyoming House of Representatives. Leer was accompanied by Wyoming Governor Dave Freudenthal, Wyoming Superintendent of Public Instruction Dr. Jim McBride and Wyoming Education Association (WEA) President Kathryn Valido. This is the 10th year the Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Awards have been made in Wyoming.

“After 29 years in education, three things continue to motivate Jaci Titchener to teach,” says Leer. “She wants to make learning fun and exciting for her students; and she has fun teaching them,” he adds. “The biggest motivator throughout Jaci’s career has been the opportunity her profession provides to reach out and help a child in need.”

Titchener teaches kindergarten students at Buffalo Ridge Elementary in Cheyenne. “In my 20-plus years of education, I truly believe that Jaci is among the country’s elite in this wonderful profession,” says Brent Young, assistant director of instruction for her school district and Titchener’s former principal. “I suppose it could be measured by her being the first to arrive at school and oftentimes the last to leave, or certainly it could be measured by her deserving accomplishment of becoming a National Board Certified teacher two years ago.

“However, along with these things, I recognize a teacher who touches the lives of all who have had the opportunity to be a part of her classroom community, and it doesn’t matter at what age you enter,” Young adds. “She has inspired youth to go into the field of education, inspires colleagues with her gentle, but strong leadership qualities, inspires former students by staying involved in their educational journeys – and inspires 5- and 6-year-old students to love learning.”

Titchener earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the University of Wyoming, Laramie, and she also has achieved National Board Certification. She continues her education through numerous workshops, conferences, in-service training and classes, as well as through professional journals and books. Titchener implemented the Character Counts! framework for developing good character traits schoolwide. She invites parents to help in her classroom during writing and literacy station activities, gaining valuable individual guidance and feedback. For the past eight years, she has served as a volunteer with the Cheyenne Schools Foundation as the contact person for information, questions and donations. Titchener also has supported Boy Scouts of America and several youth sports organizations.

Each Teacher Achievement Award recipient receives a distinctive trophy, a classroom plaque and a $3,500 personal, cash award. Nominations of the teachers are made by the public, and selection is made by a blue-ribbon panel of the teachers’ peers, all former recipients of the Arch Coal award.

The Wyoming Department of Education, the Wyoming Education Association, the Wyoming library community, Taco John’s and Loaf ‘N Jug stores are longstanding supporters of the program.

The Arch Coal Foundation also is a supporter of teacher-recognition programs in West Virginia, Utah and Colorado, as well as a number of other education-related causes.

Arch Coal, Inc. is the nation’s second largest coal producer. Arch Coal’s subsidiaries Thunder Basin Coal Company and Arch of Wyoming employ approximately 1,800 people in Wyoming. Thunder Basin’s Black Thunder and Coal Creek mines produce approximately 12 percent of the annual U.S. coal supply. Arch Coal is traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: ACI) and maintains its corporate headquarters in St. Louis, Mo.