Buffalo Ridge Elementary School’s Kim Mugg Receives Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award

GILLETTE, Wyo., April 30, 2015 – “The first thing a visitor to my classroom notices and comments on is how nice my students are to each other and how well they work together,” said Kim Mugg. “This is something that does not happen on the first week or even the first month of school. I cultivate and nurture this community of learners starting on day one.

“I believe students need a nurturing environment, where they feel safe to fail,” she continued. “When students feel safe they will take academic risks. No one is perfect; failure is going to happen, and it is part of the learning process. One of my greatest joys this year was seeing a student go from ‘I can’t do this,’ to ‘I can try this,’ to ‘Wow I’m good at this!’ I’m so delighted; she felt safe enough to take these academic risks in my classroom.”

As a result of Mugg’s ability to foster a positive learning environment, 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.”

Mugg teaches kindergarten at Buffalo Ridge Elementary School in Cheyenne. She has 10 years of teaching experience. “I believe that each child is unique and develops at different rates,” she said. “Therefore, instruction must be differentiated to meet each of my student’s unique needs and developmental stages. Acquiring knowledge is an active endeavor, especially in kindergarten. My classroom provides many hands-on activities and many opportunities for students to learn independently, with a small group or with a large group.”

“Kim’s classroom is always buzzing with learning,” said Greg Garman, principal at Buffalo Ridge Elementary School. “Students work together and independently, in small group or whole class settings, to help each other achieve and learn. Her students learn to manage their relationships in a way that builds respect and rapport in their classroom. These efforts allow all students to feel valued, safe and comfortable taking intellectual risks.”

Mugg earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in elementary education and a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology from Western State University in Gunnison, Colo. She is a member of the Buffalo Ridge Elementary leadership and intervention teams and is active in the Parent Teacher Organization. She has been a Girl Scout leader and volunteers in her church’s preschool class.

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