Kelly Walsh High School’s Itzen Receives Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award

Cheyenne, Wyo. (May 1, 2013) – Carla A. Itzen joined the teaching profession with a common but optimistic goal. “I entered the teaching profession to make a difference in the world,” she said. “I was convinced that working with young people would provide me the opportunity to make a positive impact. And I remain convinced of that today. I honestly get up each morning excited for the day.

“My approach to teaching has evolved in the 14 years since I entered the profession,” Itzen continued. “I’m always searching for new strategies to teach my kids, methods to get my students engaged, activities that will teach the critical language arts skills. I tell my students that my hope for them is that they find their passion in life and pursue it, as I have been able to do.”

As a result of her passion for teaching, Itzen received statewide recognition today. She was one of only 10 teachers to receive a 2013 Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award. John W. Eaves, Arch Coal president and chief executive officer, made the announcement during a presentation ceremony at the Capitol Rotunda. He was accompanied by Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead, First Lady Carol Mead and Wyoming Education Association Treasurer Jon VanOverbeke. This is the 13th year the Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Awards have been presented in Wyoming.

“Arch Coal is honored to recognize the winners of this year’s Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Awards in Wyoming,” Eaves said. “Great educators help build great states. Judging from the knowledge, skill and passion exhibited by this year’s recipients, we believe Wyoming has a bright future ahead.”

Itzen teaches English/language arts at Kelly Walsh High School in Casper. She has 14 years of teaching experience. “I believe that as a teacher, I have incredible power as I interact with students on a daily basis,” she said. “A sharp criticism could crush a tender soul. Yet blindly accepting a student’s lack of effort sends just as dangerous a message. I find something to like about every one of my students, and I try like crazy to get every single one of them to grow throughout the semester.”

“Carla is driven by helping her students achieve at the highest levels,” said Brad Diller, principal at Kelly Walsh High School. “She goes to great lengths to develop lessons and activities that pique student interest and participation. As department chair, Carla motivates her peers. She has a strong voice among our faculty, which she uses to promote student achievement, decrease dropouts, and persuade her colleagues to seek any opportunity available to help students experience success. Carla is not satisfied with the status quo. She uses her voice to encourage students and faculty alike to reach their potential.”

Itzen holds an associate of arts degree in communication from Casper College, a bachelor of arts degree in secondary English/communication from the University of Wyoming and a master of arts degree in teaching from Grand Canyon University in Phoenix. She also has a literacy certificate in reading from the University of Wyoming, and she has attended a number of literacy workshops. Itzen has worked as an instructional facilitator and will be pursuing National Board Certification. She serves as co-chair of the English department at Kelly Walsh and is a member of the school’s improvement committee. She teaches a Sunday school class and participates in the church’s “Pay it Forward” program. She also is involved in the school’s “Two Tons of Love” food program and Relay for Life.

Each Teacher Achievement Award recipient receives a distinctive trophy, a classroom plaque and a $3,500 personal cash award. Nominations for the award 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 teacher recognition awards are underwritten by the Arch Coal Foundation. Longstanding supporters of the program are the Wyoming Department of Education, the Wyoming Education Association, the Wyoming library community, Taco John’s and Loaf ‘N Jug stores.

The Arch Coal Foundation also supports teacher-recognition and grants programs in West Virginia, Utah and Colorado, as well as a number of other education-related causes.

Information about each of the award recipients is posted at

St. Louis-based Arch Coal, Inc. (NYSE:ACI) is one of the world’s top coal producers for the global steel and power generation industries, serving customers in 25 countries on five continents. Its network of mining complexes is the most diversified in the United States, spanning every major coal basin in the nation. Arch Coal’s Wyoming operations – Thunder Basin Coal Company’s Black Thunder and Coal Creek mines and Arch of Wyoming – have a combined workforce of about 1,750. Arch Coal and the Arch Coal Foundation have a long history of supporting educational and community causes in Wyoming. For more information, visit