Education

Martinsburg High School’s Rhonda L. Foreman Receives Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award

Charleston, W. Va. (March 30, 2015) – “Teaching high school English makes me happy and brings incredible joy to my life,” said Rhonda L. Foreman. “I knew from the moment that I stood in front of my very first class of students that I was meant to teach. Every time a student has said ‘Thanks Ms. Foreman,’ I am reminded of how important my job is regardless of the hours, duties, pay or time involved.

“I love the interaction with young adults and the opportunity to be a positive role model for them,” she continued. “Every day is different and every day offers numerous possibilities for my students to learn from me and for me to learn from my students.”

As a result of Foreman’s ability to relate to 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.”

Foreman teaches English at Martinsburg High School. She has 15 years of teaching experience. “My teaching philosophy is centered on respect,” she said. “I treat my students with respect and they in turn treat me with respect. I do not demean, intimidate or threaten my students. I need them to be as equally vested in their educational success as I am, and the only way that is possible is if we trust each other. Students respond quickly to teachers who show that they care and respect them despite the adversities in their lives.”

“I have known Mrs. Foreman and have participated in her classes for three years now, and I assure you that anyone she would have asked to write this letter (of recommendation) would have had the same experience that I had,” said student Cory Mutchler. “Whoever she had chosen would have written about how effective she is as a teacher, or about how she is the only nationally certified teacher at Martinsburg High, maybe even including a few sentences about the genuinely friendly attitude she brings every day. Those attributes, combined with a unique teaching style, are what separate Mrs. Foreman from every other teacher I have ever had.”

Foreman earned a Bachelor of Arts in English from West Virginia University, Morgantown, and a teaching certificate in English from Shepherd College, Shepherdstown. She also received National Board Certification and has attended a number of state and national continuing education workshops and conferences. Foreman was named a Caring Educator by the Berkeley County School Board and a Distinguished Educator by the Governor’s Honors Academy. She also received an Arch Coal Golden Apple Award. Foreman has volunteered for the Eastern Panhandle Youth Football League, the Martinsburg High School tennis team, the Tri­ County Soccer League, the Eastern Panhandle EPIC Soccer League and the Martinsburg High School (MHS) Boys and Girls soccer teams. She is president of the MHS boys’ soccer boosters, a member of the West Virginia University Mountaineer Parents Club and president-elect of Alpha Delta Kappa, an education sorority devoted to doing altruistic deeds in the community. She also has served as treasurer of the Heritage Grove Property Owner’s Association and has assisted with and participated in numerous community service programs aimed at helping military families.

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.