Education

Cabell Midland High School’s McClure Receives Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award

Charleston, W. Va. (March 5, 2012) –As an only child born to parents in their early 40s, Mary McClure was determined to make them proud. “At a young age, I really looked up to my teachers, but more importantly, they were so admired and respected by my parents,” she recalls. ‘Hence, teaching became my dream!”

Throughout her school years, many teachers would reinforce that dream; Mr. Pennington, her junior high math teacher and Mrs. Harshbarger, her high school math teacher, for example. “I can vividly picture them in their classrooms,” says McClure. “Both were strict, yet so caring!” After graduating as valedictorian of her high school class, McClure enrolled at Marshall, where she encountered many great professors, the most notable of which was Dr. William Ferguson, with whom McClure still remains in contact. “With the continued support of my parents, educators and friends, I was about to embark upon a journey that would be phenomenal!” she says.

Today McClure reached a phenomenal milestone on that journey. 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.

“With nearly 40 years as a teacher, Mary McClure still has no immediate plans for retirement,” says Leer. “Her motivation to continue comes from a belief that teaching is a lifelong process of learning about new philosophies and strategies. Mary’s motto is ‘Never Stop Learning.’”

McClure teaches math at Cabell Midland High School, Ona. “When reflecting on the past, I see myself as a great deliverer of knowledge,” she notes. “I now see myself as a facilitator who is guiding and directing students, asking leading questions, exploring options, suggesting alternatives and encouraging them to develop their own ideas.

“I am certainly not the same teacher today that I was 30 or 20 or even five years ago,” she adds. “I do believe, however, that my mission as a teacher has remained fairly constant throughout my 39 years. While being respectful, understanding, approachable and supportive, I have always attempted to promote positive learning; spark student enthusiasm for learning; provide a firm foundation for lifelong learning; and promote the 3Rs of relationships, rigor and relevance.”

McClure earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Marshall University. She is beginning the process of National Board Certification and has attended conferences and training sessions throughout her career. Training received as part of the W.Va. Math Leadership team enabled McClure to provide staff development for colleagues in several areas. She also received training through the International Center for Leadership in Education (ICLE), including the Quadrant D Leadership Summer Institute and Gold Seal training that led to development of lessons aimed at better preparing students for lives beyond school. Three of McClure’s Gold Seal lessons were accepted by ICLE. She is part of her school’s Professional Development Team, which was chosen to present at the W.Va. Professional Development Schools (PDS) Conference and at the ICLE Model Schools Conference in Nashville. McClure serves as coordinator of her school’s Marshall University PDS Partnership. She is a Cabell County Teacher of the Year and was one of six finalists for West Virginia Teacher of the Year. McClure has long supported her community through volunteer initiatives involving numerous organizations and capacities.

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).