Spring Mills Middle School’s Adams Receives Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award

Charleston, W. Va. (March 28, 2013) – Michele Adams loved school so much as a young person that she wanted that love affair to continue indefinitely. So she chose teaching as a profession. “I had wonderful role models as teachers throughout my school career,” she said. “It is my hope that the students whose lives I touch will have the same positive feelings when they leave my classroom and may someday desire to teach as well.  

“What motivates me to teach is the connections I make with the students when I share science with them,” she continued. “The most important thing I do as a teacher to facilitate the growth of my students is to make real-world connections by using hands-on activities. I have found that all students, regardless of their backgrounds, learn best when they make personal connections to the content.”  

As a result of Adams’ ability to make those connections with her students, she received statewide recognition today. She was one of only 12 teachers to receive a 2013 Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award. John W. Eaves, Arch Coal’s president and chief executive officer, made the announcement during a ceremony at the Clay Center in Charleston. He was accompanied by West Virginia Education Association (WVEA) President Dale Lee. This is the 25th year the awards have been presented in West Virginia, and it is the longest-running privately funded teacher recognition program in the state.   “Arch Coal is honored to recognize all 12 West Virginia winners of this year’s Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Awards,” Eaves said. “Educators are the foundation of a strong, successful state, and we’re proud to have supported a generation of great teachers with this longstanding award.”  

Adams teaches sixth-grade science at Spring Mills Middle School in Martinsburg. She has 22 years of teaching experience. “My teaching philosophy is that all students deserve to be respected and valued,” she said. “If students feel these things, the learning we expect from them is so much easier to achieve. When students feel respected, they return respect, and when we value their potential, we make them feel worthy.”  

“Michele Adams is one of the most gifted teachers that I have had the pleasure to work with during my teaching and administration career,” said Nancy White, principal at Spring Mills Middle School. “Her classroom is a very warm and inviting space, and her students truly love her science class. Michele has a way of making all students feel they can succeed, and succeed they have! Her energetic and innovative approach to teaching works. She is the catalyst of her students’ success.”  

Adams earned a bachelor of science degree in elementary education from Bowling Green State University in Ohio, and a master of arts degree in secondary science education from West Virginia University. She also holds a National Board Certification in adolescence science education. Adams serves on the board of the West Virginia Science Teachers Association as the elementary liaison, providing a voice for elementary educators in the state. She received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Education in West Virginia in 2010, and the I.C. White Earth Science Outstanding Educator Award in 2003. She was named the National Association of Geoscience Teachers West Virginia Educator of the Year Award in 2004. As part of her professional development and continuing education, she has traveled to the North Pole with 20 other research scientists to collect rock samples from the Arctic Ocean floor, traveled to Belize to study water quality issues, attended Space Camp sessions in Huntsville, Ala., and attended a Nuclear Physics workshop in Idaho.   Each Teacher Achievement Award recipient receives a distinctive trophy, a classroom plaque and a $3,500 personal cash award. 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. 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 West Virginia Department of Education, the West Virginia Education Association and the West Virginia Library Commission are longstanding supporters of the program.  

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

Information about each of today’s 12 recipients, as well as past 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. In West Virginia, Arch Coal subsidiaries employ about 1,800 people. Arch Coal and the Arch Coal Foundation have a long history of supporting educational and community causes in West Virginia.