Education

Grafton High School’s Corey Humphrey Receives Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award

Charleston, W. Va. (March 31, 2014) – Corey Humphrey credits an “amazing” high school drama and English teacher for her inspiration to become a teacher. “The discussions, writing and literature I was exposed to in his classes taught me the importance of active listening, intelligent discourse, and the ambiguity of real-life problems,” she said. “I also learned that I wanted to be a high school English teacher to help create a new generation of critical thinkers.

“The most important thing I do for my students is to challenge them with material that demands critical thinking,” she continued. “Although many of my students may not study literature after high school, the skills they develop to interpret and closely read difficult texts – and to use supporting evidence to back up their claim – translate into nearly every field and are invaluable to creating reflective, intelligent citizens.”

As a result of Humphrey’s ability to challenge 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.”

Humphrey teaches advanced placement literature, advanced placement English, English 10 and newspaper writing to grades nine through 12 at Grafton High School. She has seven years of teaching experience. “Education should be student centered, should expose students to ideas and texts that they may not otherwise encounter, and should challenge students to think critically and analytically about the world around them,” Humphrey said. “I believe that the how of education is much more important than the what. How material is presented, how students interact with it, and how the teacher moderates and manages the classroom is what creates successful learning.”

“I have known Corey for the past five years, and throughout that time, I have seen her dedication and passion for her profession,” said David Lewis, a substitute teacher at Grafton High School. “When I began substituting, I was able to see the impact this passion for teaching had on students and the environment at Grafton High School. What struck me most was how she was able to get students to think critically about literature. Some students labeled as ‘troublemakers’ in other classes were active participants in high-level discussions. As soon as they entered her room a switch got turned on. To watch Corey work is truly amazing.”

Humphrey earned a Master of Arts degree in secondary education and English from West Virginia University in Morgantown, and has received her National Board Certification. She annually attends an advanced placement (AP) summer conference and has scored AP literature exams. She participates in Instructional Practices Inventory, a group of teachers who rate classroom engagement, and Teach the Teachers, which helps the school transition into adapting Common Core Standards. She sponsors the high school’s Musicians’ and Debate clubs. She has organized trash pick-ups around the school and also has organized and sponsored educational summer trips for students and parents to provide immersive education about different countries in England, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and Fiji.

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.