Education

Fairmont Senior High School’s Adrin Fisher Receives Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award

Charleston, W. Va. (March 31, 2014) – Adrin Fisher entered college as a biology major. But along the way the many connections and intersections she encountered from diverse classes she took – Russian language, New Testament history, honors English – led her to the teaching profession. “Each person has a niche: a place where he or she just fits, where the work comes naturally, where the pieces fall into place,” she explained. “I found my niche in teaching.

“Choosing teaching as my career was liberating,” Fisher continued. “But the most important thing I do for my students is care about them. I want them to become better people. I want them to be excited about their lives. I want them to believe that they can make a difference. The way I show it is by revealing to them the connections that hold us together through history as a human race.”

As a result of Fisher’s ability to model those connections 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.”

Fisher teaches English and theater appreciation at Fairmont Senior High School. She has 16 years of teaching experience. “I believe in a holistic approach to education,” she said. “I am not merely teaching students about literature or sentence construction. I am teaching them to be better human beings. My teaching philosophy is simple: Students don’t care what you teach until they know that you care. I strive to make my students know that I care about them as individuals.”

“When I first met Mrs. Fisher and was her student in seventh grade, I was going through a lot of personal issues, and really needed an extra push of motivation,” said Taylor Masters, a student at Fairmont State University. “My other teachers saw me as a ‘problem child,’ but Mrs. Fisher took the time to listen to me, answered any question I had, and saw me as more than just a student passing through. If it were not for the extra mile she took and the time she invested in my life and education, I am not sure I would have graduated high school.”

Fisher earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from West Virginia University. She holds a certification in fifth- through 12th-grade English and a Master of Arts degree in English from SUNY at Buffalo, N.Y. Fisher has received her National Board Certification. She also has 60 hours of training in Understanding by Design (UbD) and has developed standards based units in the UbD format for 11th grade reading and language arts for the West Virginia Department of Education. She has developed a professional learning committee at the school that brings young adult literatures into the high school English classroom. She is co-advisor of the National Honor Society and has helped organize student activities such as ringing bells for the Salvation Army, collecting toiletries for the local domestic violence shelter and organizing a “Souper Bowl” food drive. Fisher also has organized fundraising events for Nuru International, an organization working to end poverty in Kenya and Ethiopia. Over the past two years, her students have raised nearly $8,000 for the organization. As a result, Nuru made a short film about the school’s “Nuru Week” activities and developed a how-to guide to help others interested in organizing similar 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.