Hodgesville Elementary’s Phillips Receives Arch Coal Achievement Award

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (March 8, 2011) – Janet L. Phillips believes every child has a right to a rigorous education in a classroom with a teacher who is aware and sensitive to individual needs. “I know each of my children as a unique adolescent who has their own interests, desires, weaknesses and abilities that I must challenge in order to meet their educational requirements,” says Phillips, a 22-year teaching veteran. “Each child I teach leaves with a sense of accomplishment and the necessary tools to flourish in life.

“Effective teachers are essential for student success, and my natural and God-given talent is interacting with children in a learning environment that allows me to develop a positive rapport with each student, including those considered at-risk, in order to encourage an intrinsic desire to succeed,” she adds. “Another strength that allows me to be an effective teacher is the pride I take in my ‘work,’ which is the intellectual, emotional and social growth of my students. Each child’s progress is the measure I use to evaluate my success.”

Today Phillips received yet another measurement of success. She 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.

“Janet L. Phillips believes classroom teachers must embrace change in order to meet the challenges facing the education system,” says Leer. “In today’s digital era, teachers must continually upgrade their skills to implement the most up-to-date technology in the classroom. Twenty-first century students are tech savvy and learn best when their interest is stimulated by current trends.”

A resident of Buckhannon, Phillips teaches fifth-grade students at Hodgesville Elementary School, Buckhannon. “I believe teaching is the opportunity to unleash the potential for every child to bring something new and unique to the world,” she says. “Children are not like a cookie cutter, with a one-size-fits-all learning style, so I find the best combination of approaches for individuals to create their own ‘cookie jars’ of knowledge, while feeling capable and successful.

“In the classroom, my role is to guide my students in constructing knowledge,” Phillips adds. “I provide access to hands-on activities, technology and authentic situations in order for each individual to increase their understanding and expertise.”

Phillips earned her bachelor’s degree at West Virginia Wesleyan College and a master’s degree at West Virginia University. She also has achieved National Board and administrative certifications. Phillips is a recipient of ING Unsung Hero and Weyerhaeuser Foundation grants that gave students access to up-to-date technology and the ability to learn necessary 21st century technology skills. This summer she will be trained in Love and Logic, a method of working with students to promote healthy teacher/student relationships and to aid in positive school-wide discipline. Phillips further supports her community through involvement in civic/community volunteer initiatives, such as the Salvation Army, Christmas Angel Tree, Partners for Prevention, Ronald McDonald House and Relay for Life.

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.