Education

New Manchester’s Holdsworth Earns Arch Coal Achievement Award

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (March 8, 2011) – The curiosity of her own children led Nancy Holdsworth to become a teacher. “I loved reading to my children. I loved teaching them,” recalls 12-year educator Holdsworth. “My children opened my mind and my heart to the joys, the innocence and the wonder of the world.

“I continue to teach because I still want to make a difference in the lives of children,” she adds. “I love the funny things they say, the silly things they do and the questions they ask. The hugs, smiles and laughter keep me going and remind me of why I became a teacher.”

Although not as satisfying as a hug or a smile perhaps, Holdsworth received yet another reminder today of why she teaches. Holdsworth 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.

“Nancy Holdsworth knows what children learn and experience during kindergarten can shape their views of themselves and the world and affect later success in school, work and their personal lives,” says Leer. “She knows that to get her students to fall in love with learning is fundamental.”

Holdsworth teaches kindergarten students at New Manchester Elementary, New Cumberland. “For me, teaching is about making learning come alive! It is about manipulating, exploring and discovering,” she notes. “My children construct knowledge at a deeper level when engaged in hands-on experiences that stimulate the senses. My classroom is alive with self-discovery and active learning.

“Readers read, writers write and scientists do science,” the New Cumberland resident adds. “I watch my students grow in their abilities to be independent learners, problem solvers and deep thinkers. I want my students to fall in love with learning; to create, question and explore throughout their lifetimes.”

Holdsworth earned a bachelor’s degree at West Liberty State College and has achieved National Board Certification. She also has completed more than a hundred hours of professional development through the West Virginia Handle on Science Project, a National Science Foundation Grant for systemic change, granted to the Northern Regional Math, Science and Technology Consortium. She is a master trainer for the Science with Inquiry Based Modules and Problem-based Learning Experiences (SIMPLE) project. This summer she will serve as a master teacher with the Teacher Leadership Institute and complete the WV Mentorship Program to become a mentor for new teachers. Holdsworth further serves her community through a range of church, civic, community and extracurricular education-related activities.

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.