Education

Woods Learning Center’s Deyonne Michelle Jackson Receives 2014 Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award

Gillette, WY (May 7, 2014) – Like many in the profession, Deyonne Michelle Jackson first thought of becoming a teacher in high school. “I had adored the teachers I had in elementary school, and I wanted to share with others the experiences that gave me a true love of learning,” she said. “I was excited by the idea of talking with children and taking the time to prepare them for an unknown future.  

“The single most important thing I can do is guide them to develop a love of learning,” she continued. “When children leave my classroom, regardless of cognitive ability, I want them to know that learning is fun.”  

As a result of Jackson’s ability to inspire her students, she received statewide recognition today. She was one of only 10 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 Campbell County High School in Gillette. He was accompanied by Gov. Matt Mead, First Lady Carol Mead and Wyoming Education Association President Kathy Vetter. This is the 14th year the Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Awards have been presented in Wyoming. It is the longest-running, privately funded teacher recognition program in the state.  

“We’re honored to recognize the 10 outstanding Wyoming teachers who were named as this year’s recipients of the Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Awards,” Eaves said. “Collectively, these 10 individuals represent all of the teachers statewide who are committed to making Wyoming thrive through educational excellence. Individually, they have a thirst for knowledge and a passion for teaching children, and they work tirelessly each day to help their students succeed. For this, we applaud them.”  

Jackson teaches kindergarten and first grade at Woods Learning Center in Casper. She has 13 years of teaching experience. “I think of educating children as constructing a pyramid,” she said. “I begin with a wide foundation that nurtures each child cognitively, physically, socially and emotionally. Critical-thinking skills in all subject areas are added to the foundation to make a sturdy structure that will endure long into the future.”  

“Deyonne has wonderful rapport with people of all ages,” said Sarah Larsen, a fellow teacher at Woods Learning Center. “Her ability to connect with her students and guide them in their learning journey is incredible. Her calm demeanor and gentle presence draws students of all levels in, allowing them to grow and blossom in her classroom. She is the perfect role model of what good teaching looks and sounds like.”  

Jackson earned an associate degree in early childhood education from Casper College, a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from the University of Wyoming in Laramie, and a master’s degree in education from Walden University in Baltimore, Md. Jackson has attended a number of seminars on integrating technology and project-based learning in the classroom. She has presented a number of academic papers at the Wyoming Early Childhood Conference, the National Network of Educational Reward Conference and the University of Wyoming Renewal Conference. Jackson also teaches at the John Wold Help Yourself Academy, a hands-on science project for elementary students, at Casper College. She also volunteers for a number of children’s activities through the local Elks Lodge, and she and a colleague began the annual Woods Has a Heart Day, which organizes service projects in the community.  

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 Teacher Achievement Awards are underwritten by the Arch Coal Foundation and are supported in program promotion by the Wyoming Department of Education, the Wyoming Education Association, the Wyoming library community, Taco John’s and Loaf ‘N Jug stores.  

Arch Coal and the Arch Coal Foundation have a long history of supporting educational and community causes in Wyoming. The Arch Coal Foundation also supports teacher recognition or grants programs in West Virginia and Colorado, as well as a number of other education-related causes. Information about each of today’s 10 Wyoming recipients, as well as past recipients, is posted at archteacherwards.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. Arch Coal’s Thunder Basin Coal Company, which employs nearly 1,800 people in Wyoming, operates the Black Thunder and Coal Creek mines. For more information, visit archcoal.com and responsible.archcoal.com.