Tuscarora Elementary School’s Candace Smith Receives Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award
Charleston, W. Va. (March 31, 2014) – Candace Smith credits the influence of her first-grade teacher with her desire to follow in her footsteps. “In 1966, Miss Janet Boyd had a huge impact on me and my love for learning,” Smith said. “Miss Boyd was a true role model, and she ensured each child would experience success. If I can look back and consider myself a little like Miss Boyd, then I have been successful!
“My greatest motivator for remaining an educator is when my students truly believe they are capable learners, and they can achieve,” she continued. “I can see it in their eyes when they finally understand that the sight words they’ve been learning can be put together to make sentences. I can see it in their actions as they develop into more independent learners. I can see it in their social behavior as they cooperatively work together in small groups. Excitement about learning motivates me!”
As a result of Smith’s enthusiasm to teach others, 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.”
Smith teaches kindergarten students at Tuscarora Elementary School in Martinsburg. She has 29 years of teaching experience. “Every teacher brings to her own classroom, beliefs about teaching,” Smith said. “My basic philosophy has remained the same for 29 years: All Students Can Learn! Not all students are going to learn the same material within the same time frame, but by starting each child at his or her existing level and adjusting instruction to meet his or her needs, I can watch learning take place. It may take repetition, review and new strategies, but all students can learn, and if I believe they can learn, then they will too.”
“Both of my daughters were blessed to have Candace as their teacher,” said Christina Chappell, president of the school’s Parent-Teacher Association. “She brings such an exciting, fun, hands-on way of learning to her students, and the way she is able to connect with her students amazes me. The children have so much respect for her, for school and for learning. Candace has such a way with children, and it warms my heart to have her make such an impact, not only with my children, but on all of her students.”
Smith earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education with an early childhood endorsement from Shepherd College in Shepherdstown and a master’s degree plus 45 additional graduate hours in elementary education from West Virginia University in Morgantown. She also has her National Board Certification. She plans to pursue a doctorate degree. Smith has attended the national “I Teach Kindergarten” conference, the national Effective Schools Conference and the 21st Century Leadership Kindergarten Academy in Morgantown. She is a member of Berkeley County’s Reading Focus group and is a member of the county’s Multicultural Diversity Team. She was named “Berkeley County Teacher of the Year” for 2009-2010. Smith has served as PTA president, vice president and treasurer. She has served as the concession stand coordinator for youth wrestling and girls’ volleyball, and as team mom for baseball, football, softball, soccer and volleyball. She teaches Vacation Bible School at her church and helps organize Christmas programs. She has been the school’s St. Jude Children’s Research Center’s Math-a-Thon Coordinator for several years, working with students and parents to raise more than $20,000. She also encourages her students to support veterans at the local VA Hospital with cards and handmade gifts and to collect supplies to send to activity military service men and women. Smith resides in Falling Waters, W.Va.
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.