Lusk Elementary and Middle School’s Pfister Receives Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award

Cheyenne, Wyo. (May 1, 2013) – Dory Pfister never had a doubt about what she wanted to do as an adult. “For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to be a teacher,” she said. “Growing up, my three younger siblings were always the ‘students,’ and I was the ‘teacher’ as we often played school.

“I still find each day of teaching rewarding and full of new challenges,” she continued. “I look forward to the thoughts my students will bring to class each day, and the direction our conversations will take us. By letting student ideas and conversation be the guide for the direction of learning in my classroom, I find myself stimulating and encouraging, rather than providing answers and resolving problems.”

As a result of her ability to guide her students’ learning, Pfister 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.”

Pfister teaches fourth grade at Lusk Elementary and Middle School. She has 30 years of teaching experience. “Learning is a constructive process,” she said. “Children learn through active engagement and real-life activities. If you were to enter my classroom, you would notice an atmosphere of student-centered learning and sharing of ideas. I believe my classroom is a caring community of learners who work collaboratively and support each other’s learning. Students are encouraged to interact with one another, and they are provided opportunities to work in large and small groups, as well as with partners and independently.”

“So far, one of my favorite teachers has been Mrs. Pfister,” said Clayton Williams, a sixth-grade student. “She was very good at making people want to learn. That is what I liked about her. I learned how to be more trustworthy. I learned how to think before I speak. I will always remember her as one of my favorite teachers in grade school.”

Pfister earned a bachelor of science degree in elementary education from Black Hills State University in Spearfish, S.D., and a master’s degree in counseling and psychology from Lesley College, Cambridge, Mass., Casper Outreach. She has completed 30 additional hours of education at a number of higher education institutions and received her National Board Certification in 2007. Pfister and her students participate in regular campus cleanups at the school and the annual schoolwide canned food drive. Her students also have done numerous other community service projects, such as writing letters to soldiers, singing Christmas carols at a nearby nursing home and senior center, and donating money to the public library. She also helped organize and train interested community members and other teachers to become National Archery in the Schools Program instructors.

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