Education

Park Middle School’s Angela Culicerto Receives Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award

Charleston, W. Va. (March 31, 2014) – Angela Culicerto originally entered college to major in sports medicine, but some advice from a former high school teacher encouraged her to add health and physical education to her major. Subsequently, a nomination for student teacher of the year convinced her to pursue teaching as her career path. But it was an incident in her classroom that forever changed her life as a teacher and a person.

“It was Monday, March 12, 2012,” she said. “I was having a good day, running my physical education classes as normal, when all of a sudden one of my students collapsed hard on the gym floor. I knew instantly this was serious! Within seconds, I was performing CPR on a 12-year-old girl, trying fiercely to save her life. She took her last breath in my classroom, and I was the last person to hold her alive.” Culicerto was not aware of the child’s pre-existing heart condition and consequently was unable to alter the student’s activity level to one appropriate to her condition. “It is for this reason that I have made it my passion to open the lines of communication between teachers, parents and students,” she said.

As a result of Culicerto’s compassion for her students, she received statewide recognition today. She was one of only 12 teachers to receive a 2014 Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award. John W. Eaves, Arch Coal president and chief executive officer, made the announcement during a ceremony at the Clay Center in Charleston. He was accompanied by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and West Virginia Education Association (WVEA) President Dale Lee. This is the 26th year the awards have been presented in West Virginia. It is the longest-running, privately funded teacher recognition program in the state.

“We’re honored to recognize the 12 outstanding West Virginia teachers who were selected as this year’s recipients of the Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Awards,” Eaves said. “If a solid education is the foundation upon which an individual builds a successful life, then excellent teachers are the mortar that holds the foundation together. These 12 individuals are great examples of the many committed teachers who strive daily to educate our children and make West Virginia a stronger state.”

Culicerto teaches health and physical education to sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade students at Park Middle School in Beckley. She has 14 years of teaching experience. “My main goal as an educator is to provide students with meaningful and relevant skills that they can take with them in their future endeavors. It is vital that all students find an activity they will be able to perform for life. It is my job to instill confidence, knowledge and skills so students can find an activity they love.”

“Angie is one of those unique individuals that possesses the gift of teaching,” said Drema McNeil, 2011 West Virginia Teacher of the Year, a past Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award winner, and a fellow educator. “I am always impressed by how well she creates a culture for learning. She engages all students in the learning process. Angie works just as hard to inspire and motivate teachers through the teacher wellness program at the school. Her hard work and determination has won her respect and admiration from students, parents and colleagues.”

Culicerto earned bachelor’s degrees in athletic training and health education from Marshall University. She also earned a master’s degree in physical education from Marshall, and has accumulated more than 30 hours of additional university studies. She is working toward National Board Certification and has completed the West Virginia Health and Physical Education Leadership Academy. Culicerto is the 2014 West Virginia Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance Teacher of the Year. She also was the Raleigh County Teacher of the Year, a West Virginia Teacher of the Year finalist and the United States Tennis Association West Virginia Teacher of the Year for 2012-2013. She is a member of the West Virginia Office of Healthy Schools committee that is realigning the core standards for health and physical education and serves as a mentor teacher. She has been Park Middle School’s faculty senate president and vice chairperson. She also serves on the school’s curriculum team, behavior team, incentive committee, multicultural committee and the leadership team. She is a member of the Raleigh County wellness committee, and a member of the local YMCA volunteer board of directors and strategic planning committee. Culicerto also is active in fundraising efforts for a number of school and civic organizations, and organizes both school and community wellness events.

Teachers are nominated by the public, and a blue-ribbon panel of past awards recipients selects the annual winners. Each Teacher Achievement Awards recipient is presented with 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, also presents a $1,000 cash award to each recipient’s school for use with at-risk students.

The Teacher Achievement Awards are underwritten by the Arch Coal Foundation and are supported in program promotion by the West Virginia Department of Education, the WVEA and the West Virginia Library Commission.

Arch Coal and the Arch Coal Foundation have a long history of supporting educational and community causes in West Virginia. The Arch Coal Foundation also supports teacher recognition or grants programs in Wyoming and Colorado, as well as a number of other education-related causes. Information about each of today’s 12 West Virginia recipients, as well as past recipients, is posted at archteacherawards.com.

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 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 and its subsidiaries employ about 1,800 people. For more information, visit archcoal.com and responsible.archcoal.com.