Education

Omar Elementary’s Browning Receives Arch Coal Achievement Award

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (March 8, 2011) – In fourth grade, the world changed for Carrie Jo Browning with the arrival of a new and exciting teacher named Mrs. Vance. “Some 15 years later, her creative teaching methods and classroom management became a model for me as I stepped into my first classroom,” recalls Browning, now a 10-year teaching veteran. “Her kindness, warm smile and enthusiasm for teaching will always be with me. Because of Mrs. Vance, I am making a difference in the lives of my students by getting to know them and by teaching them the way they learn best.”

The role Mrs. Vance played in Browning’s life is just one example of how teachers touch the future. Vance’s young protégé not only became a teacher, but also ranks among West Virginia’s best. Today Browning was among only 12 teachers statewide to receive a 2011 Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award. Arch Coal Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Steven F. Leer made the announcement during a presentation ceremony at the Clay Center in Charleston. He was accompanied by West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin and West Virginia Education Association (WVEA) Executive Director David Haney.

“Browning would counsel a young person who is interested in becoming a classroom teacher that teaching is something you must love,” says Leer. “She also stresses that students want respect – and teachers must show respect to receive it in return.”

A Logan resident, Browning teaches second-grade students at Omar Elementary School, Omar. “The most important thing I do for my students is to show them I sincerely care by taking extra time to meet their needs,” says Browning. “I have found that students respond to positive reinforcement, and I make an effort each day to say something encouraging to each of my students. Whether it is a comment about their good grades, great effort shown to work a math problem or a pretty smile, I want them to know that I care about them.”

“When I learned Carrie Browning had been nominated for the Arch Coal award, I asked if I could write a letter of recommendation,” says John Mullins, Omar principal. “I did so because I feel strongly about her abilities and accomplishments as a teacher. She has a gift of taking each student, regardless of his or her background, and helping them reach their potential,” he adds. “Mrs. Browning is well aware some students do not have a positive role model in their lives, and she works very hard to fill that void.”

Browning earned a bachelor’s degree at Alice Lloyd College, Pippa Passes, Ky., and a master’s degree at Morehead State University, Morehead, Ky. A proponent of lifelong learning, she continues her education through a variety of county and state workshops and conferences. One such venue is the Marshall University Writers Leadership Team in which Browning will again participate this summer. She was among only eight teachers selected to represent her county at the 2008 Second Teacher Leadership Institute in Morgantown. Browning is the 2010 Logan County Teacher of the Year. She further supports her community through involvement in church, environmental and extracurricular education-related volunteer 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, Inc. is one of the world’s largest and most efficient coal producers, with more than 160 million tons sold in 2010. Arch supplies cleaner-burning, low-sulfur coal to customers on four continents through its national network of mines. In West Virginia, Arch 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.