Education

Dean Morgan Junior High’s Johnson Receives Arch Coal Achievement Award

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (April 27, 2010) - The decision to become a teacher came naturally to Mary Carroll Johnson. “I grew up the daughter of an elementary school principal and spent countless hours in the company of my dad as he worked with students, teachers and parents,” she notes. “I saw the challenge as well as the fun of being in the field by watching him do his job and then visiting with my teachers after school.”

Today Johnson had an opportunity to visit with some of Wyoming’s finest teachers, a group in which she belongs. Johnson 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.

“Mary Johnson’s teaching philosophy is student-centered learning, with a focus on curriculum and respect for one another,” says Leer. “She wants to have students who are prepared for the world and hold high expectations for themselves, and her daily teaching reflects that goal,” he adds. “Mary also believes a job well done requires that she do her own homework, meaning evenings and weekends of work – lesson plans, grading papers and communicating with students and parents. She says teaching is not a seven-hour-a-day job.”

A 33-year teaching veteran, Johnson teaches English and journalism courses at Dean Morgan Junior High School, Casper. “What motivates me to continue teaching is my never-ending desire to balance my curriculum with the ever-increasing needs of today’s students, who come from vastly varying backgrounds,” she notes.

“It has become for me almost a mission to win students over to the wonders of writing and reading,” Johnson adds. “The most important thing I do for students while teaching skills they need is to listen to them and guide them,” she adds. “Through writing and conversation, they see that I care about them.”

“My first encounter with this tremendous instructor was in 2004, as an eighth-grader,” says Julia McCarthy, director of the Paradise Valley Boys and Girls Club and Johnson’s former student. “While I had always been a gifted reader, she showed me how to truly comprehend and analyze the materials I picked up. Mrs. Johnson taught me to write with a patience that is difficult to come by in our world of instant gratification,” adds McCarthy, who is pursuing a master’s degree in elementary education. “Although she strengthened me through academics, she also strengthened me as a person. This woman taught me to respect myself and others, to be open to new and perhaps exciting experiences and how to be the type of person I had wanted to become.”

Johnson earned an associate degree at Casper College and bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the University of Wyoming, Laramie. She has continued her education through coursework on classroom management, learning styles and student needs, with a current focus on technology and literacy training. Johnson has attended numerous National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) conventions and conferences and has been nominated and recognized several times in Who’s Who in American Teachers. She received her district’s Medallion of Excellence Award and is an Arch Coal Golden Apple Award recipient. Johnson further serves her community through involvement in the American Association of University Women, the Alpha Delta Kappa teachers’ sorority, Salt Lake Shrine Hospital and a wide range of additional school-related initiatives and activities.

Each recipient of the Teacher Achievement Award 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.