Education

North Marion High School’s Mary Anne Mullenax Receives Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award

Charleston, W. Va. (March 31, 2014) – Mary Anne Mullenax translated hours “playing school” as a child into her life’s work. “I was extremely fortunate to grow up in a household where education was valued, and I was also very lucky to have some great teachers throughout my public education,” she said. “As a child, I had a portable blackboard, and I remember many hours spent ‘playing’ with my imaginary students as I emulated my teachers and the lessons they taught.

“I have always enjoyed learning new things, and I wanted to continue to learn and grow myself, as well as pass that love of learning on to new generations, so I became a teacher,” she continued. “Throughout my years of teaching, I have seen so many changes in the way instruction is delivered. Being part of an innovative, integrated classroom experience has really energized me, and I enjoy coming to work in this environment.”

As a result of Mullenax’s ability to energize 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.”

Mullenax teaches an integrated English and World History ninth-grade class at North Marion High School in Farmington. She has 27 years of teaching experience. “I have seen many changes in the field of education, but my belief in the importance of loving learning and loving students has not changed,” Mullenax said. “Students know when teachers do not care about the material, and they also know when teachers do not care about them. I have always tried to teach what I love to students I genuinely care about.”

“Mary Anne has an innate ability to perceive untapped gifts and talents in students and then empowers them to develop these gifts, enabling young people to thrive,” said Christina Gouzd, who team teaches World History with Mullenax at North Marion. “Over and over again, both in our classroom and through student council, I have seen her nurturing confidence, self-efficacy and leadership skills in students who previously lacked them.”

Mullenax earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Secondary Education with specializations in English and French from Fairmont State College, and a Master of Arts degree in communication studies from West Virginia University in Morgantown. She has additional certifications in advanced placement English, literature and composition. She also has attended training sessions on how to integrate project-based learning in the classroom. Mullenax has served as the student council sponsor at North Marion. Mullenax has spearheaded a number of student beautification projects to enhance the school’s campus and raised money for charitable causes, such as breast cancer awareness, holiday food baskets and the West Virginia University Children’s Hospital. She also is active in her church and volunteers with a local food pantry and clothes closet.

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.