Union Elementary School’s Bacorn Receives Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award

Charleston, W. Va. (March 28, 2013) – A thoughtful elementary teacher who took the extra time to help Megan A. Bacorn overcome her struggle to read left a lasting impression on her. As a result, Bacorn went on to graduate college magna cum laude, determined to become the same type of caring teacher. “This kind woman took time and had patience to walk with me on a long, arduous journey to understand my particular challenges,” Bacorn said. “I am motivated to be that kind of teacher.  

“I meet each of my students where they are in order to serve as a stepping stone for them to reach their goals,” Bacorn continued. “While expecting my students to soar, I provide a classroom climate that fosters independence and nurtures resilience. When you feel respected by others, you begin to respect yourself. Our classroom Collaboration Constitution is sealed with our promises of how we will respect one another when solving problems.”  

As a result of her ability to help her students excel, Bacorn 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.”  

Bacorn teaches fifth-grade students at Union Elementary School in Buckhannon. She has 10 years of teaching experience. “As a teacher, I help children recognize opportunities that lead to open doors,” said Bacorn. “I began my career as a special education teacher. I was challenged to find each student’s small success against their preconceived negative self-image. Determination to prove that my ‘diamonds in the rough’ could achieve motivated me to think outside the box.”  

“Megan is a teacher who easily grasps new concepts and expertly incorporates these into her teaching,” said Susan Long, a fellow teacher at Union Elementary. “As a member of our school leadership team, I worked with Megan to co-author three grants, which allowed our school to become an Innovation Zone. Megan’s ideas allowed Union to pursue genre studies in reading, implement an arts block and begin a service learning program, which brings middle school students to mentor our at-risk students.”  

 Bacorn earned a bachelor of arts degree in elementary education from West Virginia Wesleyan College and a master of arts degree as a reading specialist from West Virginia University. She also is pursuing National Board Certification. Bacorn has served five years as faculty senate president at the school, and she recently was selected as a Teacher Leadership Institute Teacher Facilitator for the West Virginia Department of Education. Bacorn was named 2007 “Teacher of the Year” by Buckhannon­Upshur Middle School. She also participates with her students in a wide variety of community service and fundraising activities to benefit the school and local needy citizens.  

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. For more information, visit