Sage Valley Junior High School’s Michael Mahoney Receives 2014 Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award

Gillette, WY (May 7, 2014) – Michael Mahoney was so fascinated with science that he was compelled to share his love of the subject with others. “I think most teachers are this way,” Mahoney said.  

“However, just as I didn’t share the same joy of painting as my art teacher, most students don’t have the same excitement toward science that I have,” he continued. “Therefore, the most important thing I do for my students is to provide relevance to the topics I teach.”  

As a result of Mahoney’s ability to make science relevant to his students, he received statewide recognition today. He 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.”  

Mahoney teaches science to seventh-grade students at Sage Valley Junior High School in Gillette. He has 14 years of teaching experience. “My job is to provide a learning environment that challenges students at all learning levels,” Mahoney said. “Students come into my classroom with a variety of experiences, interests and background knowledge. Their future goals are just as varied. I strive to provide educational opportunities that each of my students can find relevant to their futures.”  

“Mr. Mahoney was my science teacher last year, and he also has been the teacher of my anti-bullying class the last two years,” said Delaney Werbelow, an eighth-grade student at Sage Valley Junior High School. “Engineering is important to Mr. Mahoney, and he likes to let students build things so that they can learn. He makes the class environment fun. He is one of the best teachers I have ever had.”  

Mahoney holds a bachelor’s degree in molecular biology from the University of Wyoming in Laramie, and a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from the University of Phoenix. He also holds math certification from the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics program at the University of Wyoming and is a National Board Certified teacher in middle level science. He has participated in a variety of professional development programs on peer-tutoring, mastery learning, which allows students to learn at their own pace, and rigorous reading. Mahoney oversees the school’s science club and is a volunteer wrestling coach for a local club. He also organizes the annual local World Water Quality Monitoring Day.

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  

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 and