Education

Kelly Walsh High School’s Farrell Receives Arch Achievement Award

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (April 13, 2011) – Cynthia S. Farrell fell in love with the Spanish language and culture as a child, living in Venezuela. “I found that being bilingual offered advantages socially and professionally,” notes the 33-year teaching veteran.

“During my sophomore year, I took a Geography of Spain class taught by my college adviser, Dr. Adams. I had a blind classmate, and for the final exam we had to know and locate the provinces of Spain, as well as the rivers, mountain ranges and cities. So I made a puzzle map for her,” Farrell adds. “It did not occur to me to become a teacher until Dr. Adams started signing me up for education classes. He must have seen something that made him think I would be a good teacher.”

While Dr. Adams may have been among the first to recognize Farrell’s teaching abilities, he certainly wasn’t the last. Today Farrell was one of only 10 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 Carey Junior High School in Cheyenne. Leer was accompanied by Wyoming Governor Matt Mead and Wyoming Education Association (WEA) Executive Director Craig Williams. This is the 11th year the Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Awards have been made in Wyoming.

“When counseling a young person interested in teaching, Cynthia S. Farrell is adamant about the far-reaching rewards the profession offers,” says Leer. “She tells them teaching is not just about the curriculum and skills, but also about the relationships and trust built with students, colleagues and community members.”

A Casper resident, Farrell teaches Spanish courses at Kelly Walsh High School in Casper. “I strongly believe in positive student-teacher relationships having an impact on learning,” she notes. “On the first day of class, I tell students about my own learning and love of the Spanish language. I tell them of my experiences teaching the language and ask them to trust one another and me as we begin the journey together,” Farrell adds. “I have also learned that I must allow the students to be who they are as we build this relationship.”

Farrell earned a bachelor’s degree at Louisiana Tech University, and a master’s degree at Lesley University. She has achieved 60 hours beyond her master’s degree, as well as National Board Certification. While chairing her school’s Foreign Language Department, enrollment in Spanish doubled, requiring a second full-time Spanish teacher. The department’s budget doubled, and as enrollment increased, so did learning and proficiency. Farrell has further served her community through support of the United Way, Meals on Wheels and the Salvation Army. She also volunteers for church activities and provides tutoring, translation and interpretation help to others.

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.

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

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

U.S.-based Arch Coal, Inc. (NYSE:ACI) is one of the largest coal producers in the world, with more than 160 million tons of coal sold in 2010. Arch’s national network of mines supplies cleaner-burning, low-sulfur coal to customers on four continents, including U.S. and international power producers and steel manufacturers. Arch’s Wyoming operations – Thunder Basin Coal Company’s Black Thunder and Coal Creek mines and the Arch of Wyoming operations – have a combined workforce of more than 1,800.

Information about each of the 10 current recipients, as well as past recipients, is posted at archteacherawards.com.