Montcalm Elementary School’s Ashley N. Shaw Receives Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award

Charleston, W. Va. (March 30, 2015) – Each year of teaching is a new adventure,” said Ashley N. Shaw. “I knew I wanted a job working with children, something that would not be the same monotonous daily work. Teaching has fulfilled my expectations. As a Title I teacher, I am able to work with students who are struggling with reading. There is no better joy than to see a child’s face light up once they have mastered a reading concept for the first time.

“Teachers have the power to be one of the greatest influences in a child’s life,” she continued. “I can still remember the teachers who made a positive impact in my life, and I hope to be able to do the same for my students.”

As a result of Shaw’s ability to influence her students, she received statewide recognition today. She was one of only 12 teachers to receive a 2015 Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award. John W. Eaves, Arch Coal’s 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 27th year the awards have been presented in West Virginia. It is the longest-running, privately funded teacher recognition program in the state.

“Teachers have long been revered for the role they play in a well-educated society, and we are especially honored today to recognize 12 outstanding West Virginians who were presented with a 2015 Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award,” Eaves said. “The role of the classroom teacher is constantly evolving, requiring educators to continually adapt to new teaching methods, technologies and curriculum. These educators are excellent representatives of the many teachers who strive daily in the classroom to help improve the lives of West Virginia’s children. We applaud them for their unwavering dedication.”

Shaw teaches reading to Kindergarten through fifth-grade students at Montcalm Elementary School in Rock. She has 10 years of teaching experience. “It is critical to know your students, their learning styles and to build a rapport with them,” she said. “We celebrate all successes. We work together to set achievable goals and have students take responsibility for their learning. They chart their progress and always have a goal in sight. It’s important to concentrate on a student's progress and growth instead of an actual benchmark number.”

“Mrs. Shaw has taught my children at Montcalm Elementary School for more than seven years cumulatively,” said Ashley Darago. “My children love going to her classroom and enjoy her teaching style. Mrs. Shaw is an enthusiastic teacher and mentor to her students. She encourages her students to strive for achievement of their academic and social goals. My children always love going to her class to read a new novel or to write a story. Learning is top priority and is always fun for the students.”

Shaw earned a bachelor’s degree in Kindergarten through sixth-grade elementary education and a master’s degree as a Kindergarten through 12th-grade reading specialist from Concord University in Athens, W.Va. She also has a degree in administration and supervision from Concord and received her National Board Certification. She also has completed a number of continuing education courses and attended a number of workshops to improve her teaching skills. She also trained to become a Master Mentor for new teachers throughout Mercer County and serves as the liaison between Mercer County Schools and Bluefield State College in Bluefield, W.Va. Shaw participates in a number of volunteer activities including teaching Vacation Bible School at her church, filling shoeboxes for children at Christmas and helping with the Community Christmas Tree Program for local needy families. She also organizes three events annually that connect students and parents through parental involvement sessions. She resides in Princeton, 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

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. The company controls more than 5 billion tons of high-quality metallurgical and thermal coal reserves, with access to all major railroads, inland waterways and a growing number of seaborne trade channels. In West Virginia, Arch Coal and its subsidiaries employ about 1,800 people. For more information, visit