Education

UW Lab Middle School’s Webb Receives Arch Coal Achievement Award

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (April 13, 2012) – Cynthia Webb believes the most important thing she does for her students is to give them the security and confidence to think and then to listen to what they have to say.

“While there is a laundry list of standard accommodations and ways to elicit the best from any student, including those with special needs, it means nothing if it doesn’t accompany a relationship and a desire to see the best in everyone,” she notes.

Today it was Webb whose best was recognized, publicly and throughout the state. She was one of only 10 teachers statewide to receive a 2012 Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award. Steven F. Leer, Arch Coal chairman and chief executive officer, made the announcement during a ceremony at South High School in Cheyenne. Leer was accompanied by Wyoming Governor Matt Mead, Senator Mike Enzi, Representative Cynthia M. Lummis, and Wyoming Superintendent of Public Instruction Cindy Hill. This is the 12th year the Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Awards have been made in Wyoming.

“As future citizens, Cynthia Webb believes it is vital that students understand the past,” says Leer. “She wants them to appreciate the sacrifices and choices of their forefathers, what it takes to be a citizen of the world and what it took to get there.”

With 10 years of experience, Webb teaches social studies, American and world history, civics, language arts and English at the University of Wyoming Lab Middle School. “Every child needs the freedom to become a critical decision-maker, and children should learn in a comfortable, nonjudgmental environment,” says Webb. “They need to test the world and make mistakes, because that is the most powerful learning tool available to us.”

“Ms. Webb was my social studies teacher for one year and my National History Day coach for two years,” says student Brenna Lindsey. “Thus, I can say that lessons learned from Ms. Webb are not only enriching, but motivational. When she lectures about the Civil War, history comes to life. Through her descriptive words, you can see John Brown raiding Harpers Ferry; you can hear Abraham Lincoln’s speeches, and as his voice rings over the crowd, you are there. This energy she bestows upon the classroom hypnotizes any student into an enlightening state so that when the class ends, no one wants to leave.”

Webb earned a bachelor’s degree and a diploma in secondary education at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and a master’s degree at the University of Wyoming. She also holds endorsements in social studies and language arts. Webb continues her education through numerous initiatives, including the Gilder-Lehrman Institute for American History and classes on “America’s Forgotten Wars.” With two degrees in anthropology, Webb implemented an excavation program related to two structures at the Wyoming Territorial Prison. She presents at archaeological conferences and through papers and roundtables on the power of project-based education. Webb attends National History Day seminars and has served as a coach and district director for the program. She participates in Positive Learning Community conferences, Quantum Learning, and Step-UP to Writing programs and is in charge of the school’s Read Across America literacy campaign. Webb and her students also support numerous other community-betterment projects.

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.

The Wyoming Department of Education, the Wyoming Education Association, the Wyoming library community, Taco John’s and Loaf ‘N Jug stores are longstanding supporters of the program.

The Arch Coal Foundation also is a supporter of teacher-recognition 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 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. Arch’s Wyoming operations – Arch of Wyoming and Thunder Basin Coal Company’s Black Thunder and Coal Creek mines – have a combined workforce of more than 1,800.