Education

Nicholas County CTC’s Scarbrough Receives Arch Coal Achievement Award

Charleston, W. Va. (March 5, 2012) –Connie McClung Scarbrough viewed school as a sanctuary during her childhood years. “The school building itself exuded order, and once inside, the positive reinforcement and the belief from my teachers that I was worthy of praise made me ready to scramble onto the school bus every morning,” she recalls. “I could not wait to get to school! It was no surprise to anyone when I decided to be a teacher.

“It is my passion that when my students leave each day, they are better people than when they arrived each morning. In addition, providing students with the opportunity for inquiry is vital for future discoveries,” Scarbrough adds. “William Yeats stated, ‘Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.’ Who knows what significant world problems might be solved someday by the passion ignited in my classroom? I still cannot wait to get to school each morning!”

Scarbrough has another reason to scramble excitedly into her school. Today she was among only 12 teachers statewide to receive a 2012 Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award. Steven F. Leer, Arch Coal chairman and chief executive officer, made the announcement at an awards ceremony at the Clay Center. He was accompanied by West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin and West Virginia Education Association (WVEA) President Dale Lee.

“Connie Scarbrough wants her students to realize that their short time together in the classroom is an opportunity for them to realize what they can become,” says Leer. “She challenges them daily to take the information learned in class and apply it to their lives outside the educational setting.”

A 27-year educator, Scarbrough teaches agriculture education, agriculture mechanics and horticulture at the Nicholas County Career Technical Center, Craigsville. “Two standards direct my path as a teacher,” she notes. “The first, ‘Know Thy Student,’ is job one. My community involvement includes building a rapport with many of my students from the time they are 9 or 10. I know their parents. I know their situations, and we have a bond that lets them know I have empathy for their struggles,” she adds. “It is the teacher’s responsibility to find curiosity and nourish it until students are passionate about all learning, no matter what they personally face.

“The other standard I live by is, ‘If it is to be, it is up to me.’ Teaching is hard work. The weak at heart, apathetic and unmotivated educator should find another career path,” says Scarbrough. “When entering the classroom each day, teachers must believe in their abilities, and the students must have confidence in their teacher’s expertise.”

Scarbrough earned an associate degree at Potomac State College, Keyser, W.Va., and bachelor’s and master’s degrees at West Virginia University. She also has been accepted into a doctoral program at WVU. Scarbrough has served on many committees that impact the agricultural science industry. She also served twice as president of the West Virginia Agriculture Teachers Association, attending conferences in New Orleans and Cincinnati. She was selected to re-evaluate the content standards for agriculture classes statewide; to reconstruct standards using Bloom’s Taxonomy; and to write end-of-course exams for West Virginia animal veterinary science and horticulture students. Advising the local chapter of the National FFA annually keeps her actively involved with nearly 300 students in agricultural programs. Scarbrough’s schools have been selected as the top FFA chapters in the country – from among more than 7,200 chapters. Over the years, Scarbrough and her students have earned more than $80,000 in competitive grants. She has been involved with the 4-H programs in Mason and Jackson counties as a leader/member/volunteer in numerous capacities for 30 years. As a two-time cancer survivor and in memory of former students and loved ones lost to the disease, Scarbrough raises funds for the Relay for Life cancer walk.

In addition to recognition, Teacher Achievement 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.

U.S.-based Arch Coal, Inc. (NYSE:ACI) is a top five global coal producer and marketer, and the most diversified American coal company, with  mining complexes across every major U.S. coal supply basin. In 2011, Arch continued to lead the U.S. coal industry in safety performance and environmental compliance among large, diversified producers. In West Virginia, Arch Coal subsidiaries operate mining complexes at Beckley; Buckhannon (Imperial); Cowen (Eastern); Grafton (Tygart); Holden (Coal-Mac); Morgantown (Patriot); Philippi (Sentinel); and Sharples (Mountain Laurel).