Lumberport Middle School’s Kerns Receives Arch Coal Achievement Award

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (March 9, 2010) – Lisa D. Kerns feels a sense of accomplishment when she sees the light go on in a student’s eyes; it’s when she knows she has made a difference. “I feel the same when a student comes up to me years after they have left my classroom and says, ‘Do you remember me? You were my favorite teacher,’” Kerns says. One such instance took place just recently.

“A young man walked up to me and said, ‘You were my high school home economics teacher. You told me I would make a wonderful father and husband someday; I would like you to meet my wife and little boys,’” she relates. “His words brought tears to my eyes. I have always wanted to make a difference in this world, and I truly believe teaching is one of the most significant professions. It allows you to touch someone else’s life daily.”

Today Kerns, a 21-year teaching veteran, was recognized for the difference she makes throughout West Virginia. She was among 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.

“Lisa Kerns believes all children have the ability and the need to learn,” says Leer. “She says she envisions each student as a seed that has the ability to grow into a beautiful, thriving flower. Kerns accepts responsibility for nurturing – love, warmth, attention and cultivation – to help her students grow and flourish.”

A Worthington resident, Kerns teaches family and consumer science, as well as computer skills to sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade students at Lumberport Middle School. “I strive to teach each student as if they were a family member,” she says. “I ask myself, ‘How would I want my child to be taught?’ Reaching out to students on a personal level and getting to know their dreams and expectations helps me be more effective,” Kerns adds. “Teaching students to be caring, creative, curious and productive human beings is my life’s work.”

Kerns earned her bachelor’s degree at Fairmont State College and a master’s degree at Salem International University. She also has achieved National Board Certification and continues her education through numerous classes, conferences, seminars, meetings and events. She regularly offers technology-centered classes to her community and co-workers and has been affiliated with the Fairmont State University GEAR UP Grant since its 1999 inception. Kerns also participates in her school’s academic booster program, and she was the recipient of two grants to promote healthy lifestyles in the school and community. She spearheaded a Wellness and Safety fair for the community and coordinates Family Fun Fitness Nights. Kerns also developed and sponsors a student-driven technology team called Techies.

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.