Education

Monongah Elementary’s Burton Receives Arch Coal Achievement Award

Charleston, W. Va. (March 5, 2012) –As a child, Lee Anne Burton was influenced to teach by Pastor Ray Crabtree and his wife Gladys, who modeled life lessons, high moral standards and compassion. “Teaching provides an avenue for me to help students cultivate their talents and gifts, just as this minister and his wife helped me to discover my destiny to become an educator,” she recalls. “As a result of my experiences, I have great empathy and love for every child, regardless of ability, and believe they can overcome their insecurities.

“I am motivated to continue to teach because it is very gratifying and absolutely uplifting when a child is having fun learning something new,” adds Burton. “Children make me laugh, cheer for me when I return from a meeting, give me big hugs and write notes that say I am the best teacher in the world. As a teacher who genuinely loves her students, I can hardly wait until the next day to get to school after staying up late to plan fun, creative, interactive, child-centered lessons.”

Today’s event may have been a bit low-key in terms of hilarity, yet Burton likely viewed it highly entertaining as well. 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 during 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.

“Lee Anne Burton believes children are unique, precious and deserving of her full, individual attention as she helps them develop a deep respect for themselves, others and the world around them,” says Leer. “Her students are celebrated and nurtured for their unique minds and talents. In her class, every child shines.”

With 16 years of experience, Burton teaches second-grade students at Monongah Elementary, Monongah. “The most important thing I do for students is to treat them with respect and love and to nurture them as though they were my own children,” says Burton. “Oftentimes, troubled children are placed in my classroom because I genuinely care about every need in their lives. I see children with my heart and not with my eyes.”

“I have worked with Mrs. Burton for the past three years and strongly feel that any recognition bestowed upon her is well-deserved,” says Principal Robert W. Moore. “She is a 2012 finalist for the West Virginia Teacher of the Year; the 2011 Marion County Teacher of the Year; the 2011 Smart 529 Teacher Essay winner; and a 2010 finalist for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST). She sees any recognition or awards as credit to her students and her school. Her efforts to expose her students to new ideas will undoubtedly extend beyond their school years.”

Burton earned a bachelor’s degree at the University of the Southwest, Hobbs, N.M., and a master’s degree at New Mexico University, Portales. She has achieved National Board Certification. Burton has served as a state-level conference presenter and mentor for the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. She received specialized training through Math Solutions and presented math techniques to fellow teachers. Burton continually expands her teaching knowledge through graduate work and conferences and by conducting focus groups and curriculum reviews. Her selection for and involvement in the Teacher Leadership Institute enabled Burton to research Project Based Learning (PBL) and to collaborate with teachers in other counties. She is the recipient of a number of grants for her school, and she mentors student teachers/observers. Within the community, Burton has served as a Missionette leader for young girls. She sings on a Praise Team and at various community venues, such as a prison, low-income housing and a soup kitchen. Burton and her students annually send goods to soldiers and hold a bake sale to supply children in other countries with Christmas boxes.

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).