Washington District Elementary’s Woods Receives Arch Achievement Award

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (March 8, 2011) – Lori R. Woods’ grandmother taught kindergarten until she was 70 years old. “She raised three children, including my mother, who all became teachers,” Woods notes. “My decision to choose teaching as a career was an easy one, influenced by my family and my love for nurturing the inner learner found in all children.

“My motivation to continue teaching comes from the students,” Woods adds. “I am met by their expectations every day I enter the classroom, and I make every effort to fulfill their craving for learning. I strive to resemble my grandmother in numerous ways, including demonstrating the devotion I have to teaching children.”

Today that devotion was recognized statewide. Woods was among only 12 West Virginia teachers 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.

“Lori R. Woods believes everyone can learn and that we all are lifelong learners,” says Leer. “She also feels that teachers are responsible for providing students with a safe and nurturing environment, as well as challenging and individualized activities that promote learning. Technology and 21st century learning skills must be included in the curriculum to prepare students for the future.”

An eight-year veteran educator, Woods teaches pre-kindergarten courses at Washington District Elementary School, Buckhannon. “There are three important things I do for the students,” she notes. “First, I believe that they can succeed. This belief empowers them to be the best students they can be. Second, I have high expectations of the students’ academic and behavioral performances. By reaching for the high goals I set, students are not limited to performing at a level lower than their abilities. Third, I provide an environment that is welcoming and nurturing, challenging and playful all wrapped into one,” she adds. “When I meet the needs of these young children and they feel safe and cared for, they can begin to learn.”

Woods, who resides in Buckhannon, earned her bachelor’s degree at W.Va. Wesleyan College and a master’s degree at West Virginia University. She also has achieved National Board and multi-category special education certifications. A proponent of lifelong learning, Woods continues her education through conferences, workshops and staff-development opportunities. She supports her county’s Early Childhood Planning Committee, serves as a Girl Scout leader and as associate coach of the Buckhannon-Upshur Middle School girls’ basketball team. Woods is both Member Development and Campus Relations adviser for women in Alpha Gamma Delta at W.Va. Wesleyan College. She has promoted several community-related events at school, such as a Caring Tree, a pet food drive and a program designed to send cards to U.S. troops overseas.

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.