Hanna Elementary School’s Catherine McAtee Receives Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award

GILLETTE, Wyo., April 30, 2015 – “Teaching has a long-lasting and powerful influence on the future of our children and the future of our country,” said Catherine McAtee. “My motivation to teach is determined by a desire to make a difference in a child’s life. I believe that every child is a treasure waiting to be discovered. It is my goal to uncover and foster each child’s potential and talent.

“Engagement in classroom activities happens when teachers invest the time and interest in each child,” she continued. “By knowing how my students learn best, real-life hands-on classroom practices enhance each student’s educational success, and concepts come alive when connected to a child’s experiential background. It is extremely important to expect excellence, but at the same time my students must be nurtured in a safe haven filled with love, patience and compassion.”

As a result of McAtee’s ability to recognize her students’ potential, she received statewide recognition today. She was one of only 10 teachers to receive a 2015 Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award. John W. Eaves, Arch Coal’s chairman and chief executive officer, made the announcement during a ceremony at Paintbrush Elementary School in Gillette. He was accompanied by Gov. Matt Mead and Wyoming Education Association Executive Director Ron Sniffin. This is the 15th 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 these 10 outstanding Wyoming classroom teachers for their long hours and great professionalism, which provide a high-quality education for the students of the state,” Eaves said. “They exemplify the spirit and dedication of teachers throughout Wyoming who continually adapt to new teaching methods, technologies and curriculum while striving to help their students achieve heights they never thought possible. We applaud them for their efforts and congratulate them on today’s achievement.”

McAtee teaches third grade at Hanna Elementary School. She has 28 years of teaching experience. “My teaching philosophy is to create an insatiable thirst for life-long learning,” she said. “The teacher must encourage each child to envision the possibility of his or her own greatness and ignite a fire for learning. Recognizing talents and abilities, instruction should be specifically designed or ‘differentiated’ to address each child’s needs, ensuring that they are challenged academically and successful at the same time.”

“Mrs. McAtee has an extreme passion for working with children and helping them to achieve their highest potential both within her classroom and outside the classroom walls,” said Tiera Scott, a parent and teaching colleague. “She provides instruction in the classroom that goes above and beyond the classroom curriculum. Mrs. McAtee attends to the individual needs of all children in her classroom, both academically and emotionally. She creates extensive learning opportunities that allow the children in her classroom to achieve higher-level thinking skills, understand a variety of ways to solve problems and to work cooperatively.”

McAtee earned a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Wyoming and a Master of Science degree from Western Governors University in Salt Lake City. She was selected for the Northern Colorado University and University of Wyoming Mathematics Leadership Project, a two-year math and science partnership program, and attended the Mickelson Exxon Mobil Teacher Academy in Jersey City, N.J. She twice has received the state of Wyoming award from the National Science Foundation Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science (PAESMT). In 2006, she won the $10,000 national PAESMT Award and received a Presidential Citation from President George W. Bush. McAtee also received the $8,000 Toyota TIME Grant (Teachers Integrating Math into Education) for “Wind: A Renewable Resource,” which purchased wind study equipment, and funded field studies that collected data about the Wyoming winds and the wind corridor. She also is a past Arch Coal Golden Apple recipient. McAtee is active in a number of civic and community organizations, and is a member of the Elk Mountain, Wyo., town council where she resides, and the Economic Development Council of Carbon County. 

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. 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. 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