Education

Ruthlawn Elementary School’s Beverly Stern Receives Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award

Charleston, W. Va. (March 30, 2015) – Originally Beverly Stern thought that a college education was out of her reach due to its high cost. However, after spending some time working as a secretary in a high-pressure business, Stern was given some life-changing advice. “People advised me to do something I enjoyed,” she said. “I applied and was offered a scholarship at Alderson Broaddus College as an elementary education major specializing in early childhood. My four years at AB were a time to grow academically, socially and professionally.

“Since beginning teaching in the fall of 1983, I have had high expectations for myself, my students and their parents,” she continued. “My classroom is a safe place where students enjoy doing their personal best. All students can learn, but they also require enrichment, remediation and challenge to achieve their potential.”

As a result of Bush’s compassion for 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.”

Stern teaches first grade at Ruthlawn Elementary School in South Charleston. She has 31 years of teaching experience. “My teaching philosophy has benefited from many hours of in-service training with professionals and hands-on experience with students in the classroom,” she said. “One of my passions has been teaching students to read. This is the foundational skill for everything they will be required to do in their lives. Parent volunteers frequently come to help with guided reading and garden-based learning activities where students can apply reading and math skills to real world situations.”

“Mrs. Stern is passionate about her profession,” said Jennifer Gorrell, director of pharmacy at CAMC Women and Children’s Hospital. “She understands that every child learns in different ways and incorporates that into her classroom. She employs a variety of tactics to get children interested in learning, including using group settings, technology, and the outdoor classroom. As my daughter’s teacher, she helped to harness much of Katie’s energy into a love for reading that has persisted throughout elementary school.”

Stern earned a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education from Alderson Broaddus College in Philippi, W.Va., and a master’s in elementary education from Walden University in Minneapolis. She also has a number of continuing education courses in technology use in the classroom, special education and problem-based learning. Stern began an award-winning garden project for her first-grade class that has expanded to include the entire school. She also organized “Ruthlawn Mustang Meadows,” an afterschool garden club for second- through fifth-graders that involves parents, grandparents, master gardeners and VISTA workers and is supported by the West Virginia University extension office. Stern resides in St. Albans, 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. 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 archcoal.com.