Barrackville’s Toth Receives Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (March 9, 2010) – The seeds of Sheila Kay Toth’s professional life were planted at Barrackville School. “I attended Barrackville for 12 years, and many of my teachers were instrumental in my choosing education as a profession,” notes Toth. “One teacher in particular, my high school civics teacher, set the bar for what I consider teaching excellence through her hard work and optimistic attitude. Her positive influence on my life is a daily reminder of the importance a teacher can have on a child’s life,” she adds. “Each day I try to make a difference in a student’s life, just like she did in mine.”

After 31 years as an educator, Toth further proved she’s making a difference. Today she 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.

“Sheila Toth believes her greatest contribution to education is her ability to seek innovative ways to strengthen the learning environment,” says Leer. “Toward that end, she continually seeks grant funding to provide parents and students with educational resources and programs during the school year and the summer months.”

A Fairmont resident, Toth teaches second-grade students at Barrackville Elementary/Middle School. “My daily approach to instruction is to use a variety of strategies and methods to differentiate and enable students to be engaged in learning and to work with each other,” she says. “I make meaningful connections to the curriculum through literacy workstations, reader’s theatre scripts, graphic organizers, technology, math manipulatives, writing across the curriculum, guest speakers and field trips,” Toth adds. “By teaching students about read-world connections, I am laying the foundation for future attitudes about learning. I am empowering them to be change makers.”

Toth earned her bachelor’s degree, along with library science/media specialization at Fairmont State College and a master’s degree at West Virginia University, Morgantown. She has achieved National Board Certification and continues her education through workshops, training and other professional-development sessions. Toth serves on the Marion County Teacher Leadership Institute Team and has taken training on Project Based Learning and 21st Century Skills. She also attends monthly Teacher Leadership Institute (TLI) team meetings. Participation in a W.Va. State Science Conference enabled Toth to incorporate the Carnegie Museum of Natural History education loan program into her classroom. While working on the K-2 Academic Vocabulary Team with the West Virginia Department of Education, she created 50 minilessons to help teachers introduce academic vocabulary words to their students. She attended a Certification Extravaganza at NASA to gain certification on a number of classroom kits, such as Star Lab, Cratering and SunSpotter. Toth is a Marion County Patti R. Pollack Reading Teacher of the Year and an Arch Coal Golden Apple Award recipient. She is the 2009-2010 Marion County Teacher of the Year and a finalist for West Virginia State Teacher of The Year.

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.