Ona Elementary School’s Kelli Jordan Receives Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award

Charleston, W. Va. (March 30, 2015) – “I knew I wanted to be a teacher in first grade,” said Kelli Jordan. “My first grade teacher, Mrs. Smith, made a lasting impression. I loved sitting on her lap and could not wait until she played the piano for us. She loved children and her love of teaching rubbed off on me.

“I love children and will do whatever it takes to help them succeed in the classroom, but most importantly, in life,” she continued. “My students are my motivation every day. I love them all the same and will do whatever it takes to ensure they have a positive learning experience.”

As a result of Jordan’s ability to provide positive experiences 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.”

Jordan teaches fourth grade at Ona Elementary School. She has 23 years of teaching experience. “My greatest strength is providing students with the materials and activities they need to be successful with every task,” she said. “I take my students from where they are and encourage them to learn more and to do their best. Children go through different stages in the learning process. Not all children will be ready to do this at the same time. Prior experiences play an important role in how much background knowledge a teacher needs to provide so the students can be successful.”

“I have a special needs son who first had Mrs. Jordan in kindergarten in 2002,” said Karen Irwin. “At the time it was only known that my son had ADHD. Mrs. Jordan was not only patient, but also kind with him knowing that he was a different kind of learner. My son is now a senior in high school. Mrs. Jordan gave my son the best learning and challenging environments that he has ever had while in school. She will forever be his favorite teacher, not only for the kindness that she showed him, but also for her compassion for him as a learner. I will forever hold her dear for the impact that she made in his life!”

Jordan earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in elementary education and a Master of Arts degree in reading education from Marshall University, Huntington. She also received National Board Certification and recently completed course work for a certificate in administration from Marshall University. Jordan and her classes participate in a number of community projects, including collecting toiletries and other items for veterans, food for the local pantry, snack items for Hospice House, and food and supplies for the local no-kill animal shelter. She has served as a Sunday school teacher and AWANA worker at her church and raised funds for the American Heart Association, breast cancer awareness and Girls on the Run, a non-profit after-school program that encourages preteen girls to develop self-respect and healthy lifestyles through running. She resides in Huntington, 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