Education

Carey Junior High’s English Receives Arch Coal Achievement Award

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (April 13, 2011) – Jessica Francine English decided to become a teacher in fifth grade, the most difficult year of her childhood. “I had changed schools three times, and we had been living out of our car off and on, which was no secret to my classmates,” recalls the 10-year teaching veteran. “Mr. Grunest saved me through writing, pushing me to take a weekend creative writing class and pulling some strings to get it paid for,” English adds. “From there on, I expressed myself and connected to teachers through writing.

“There are many others whom I thank for bringing me to this place,” English adds. “It was my teachers who made me choose this profession. They encouraged me; they cared about me; they made me feel safe. Above all, my teachers believed in me. This is what I hope to do for my students.”

Today English got an opportunity to show her former teachers that the time, interest and confidence placed in her abilities were indeed well-placed. She was among 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.

“Jessica Francine English believes we are all born with the ability to learn and achieve, and from the moment we first take a breath, we crave knowledge,” says Leer. “She also believes all students can and want to learn. Jessica says her purpose as a teacher is to ignite a passion for learning and to present students with materials, ideas and tools that enable them to formulate opinions and productively participate in society.”

A Cheyenne resident, English teaches English courses for seventh-grade students at Carey Junior High School in Cheyenne. “I believe the most important part of my job is to truly know my students and to connect with each,” she says. “New challenges, student successes and opportunities to work with a team of energetic and enthusiastic teachers motivate me to continue to teach,” English adds. “Every day I strive to give back to my students what Mr. Grunest, Mrs. Nerud and Mrs. Lain gave to me – the desire to dream and the love of learning.”

English earned an associate degree at Laramie County Community College, Cheyenne, and a bachelor’s degree at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque. She has achieved National Board Certification and continues her professional development through such training opportunities as the annual Model Schools Conference, the Belfer Institute at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and Quantum Learning Training. She chairs her school’s English Department and serves as a Core Team leader, a teacher mentor and as a member of a district task force. English also serves as a teacher consultant with the Wyoming Writing Project and is a writing fellow at the University of Wyoming. She further serves her school and community through various extracurricular, education-related initiatives.

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.