Education

Sundance Elementary’s Needham Receives Arch Coal Achievement Award

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (April 13, 2012) – “An old saying states that if you want to be remembered forever, either write something worth reading or do something worth writing about,” notes Tammy Beth Needham.

“However, I believe there is another way to create your legacy, and that is by being a teacher,” she adds. “Teachers have the ability to touch the lives of so many students, and the distance of your impact has potential to reach the future.”

Although Needham had already ensured her legacy by becoming a teacher, she also achieved something worth writing about today. 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.

“Tammy Needham has advice for those considering the teaching profession – make sure it is your true passion,” says Leer. “She believes teaching is too crucial and challenging to be just a job. A true teacher’s work never ends.”

“Tammy is an example of what every educator should aspire to be. She cares deeply about all her students and differentiates her instruction to meet the needs of all students,” says fellow Sundance Elementary School teacher Shanna Kinnick.

With 25 years in the education profession, Needham teaches fourth-grade students at Sundance. “The most important things I can do for my students are respect them, accept them and care about them,” says Needham. “The elements of relationship-building must be sincere and shown on a daily basis if students are to grow to feel the same.”

Needham earned a bachelor’s degree at the University of Wyoming and Gifted/Talented endorsement at the University of Texas Pan American, Edinburg. She also has earned more than 90 additional graduate-level credits and furthers her professional development through a range of education opportunities. Needham has coordinated and coached numerous Odyssey of the Mind and Destination Imagination teams. She is the recipient of a Christa McAuliffe Fellowship, a Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and a Milken Educator Award. Needham also has been invited by the Secretary of Education to participate in a Washington, D.C., educational conference. Within the community, she serves as the Crook County Fair’s Superintendent of Dogs, which entails managing the entire dog show and judging. She has served on the state board of the Wyoming Association for Creative Youth and has hosted several creativity camps. Needham annually runs a community carnival at Halloween. She also provides real-world applications for students in the form of community service, such as a Community Christmas Basket bake sale.

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.