South High School’s Sarah C. Krank Receives Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award

GILLETTE, Wyo., April 30, 2015 – “Teaching art is a very complex subject that, from the outside, can look as if it is little more than play,” said Sarah C. Krank. “Art education develops creative and critical thinking, decision making, observational skills, aesthetic awareness, self-exploration, self-expression, problem shaping and problem solving. For me, that is the beauty of the discipline. Students gain knowledge and understanding through thought, experience and the senses while much of the time it feels just like play. Perhaps this is an unfair advantage, but it is one that I try to make use of every day.

“What amazes me most about all of this is that I never wanted to be a teacher,” she continued. “I didn’t feel drawn to the profession from the time I was a little girl, nor was I encouraged to pursue teaching by my high school guidance counselor. I was an artist who took a few educational psychology classes and found them interesting. Next thing I knew, I was graduating with a teaching degree.”

As a result of Krank’s ability to make learning feel like play while encouraging critical thinking, 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.”

Krank teaches art at South High School in Cheyenne. She has 15 years of teaching experience. “The most challenging issue in classrooms today is keeping students who are conditioned for fast food, quick answers and immediate communication engaged in a process that might take a month from start to finish, and involve questions with answers that can’t be found through a Google search,” she said. “Making art isn’t a simple task. There are very, very few concrete answers to creative problems. Students need to know that they are in an environment that encourages questioning.”

“Sarah Krank inspires, challenges, mentors and expects the most from her students,” said Sheryl Fanning, secondary school librarian and parent. “She is very knowledgeable about art and expects her students to study the history of it and then apply this knowledge in their own art work. Her passion for this field definitely affects the young people that she teaches. They are willing to spend the time and effort to produce a quality piece in her class and that carries over in other aspects of their lives.”

Krank earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in education from the University of Wyoming and a Master of Fine Arts degree in drawing and painting from Idaho State University in Pocatello. She also has received additional professional development and, as a result, has begun teaching the school’s first advanced placement courses, AP drawing and AP 2-Dimensional design. Krank has received several teaching awards, including Central’s Teacher of the Month, three nominations into Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers, the CBS Golden Apple Award and the Arch Coal Golden Apple Award. Art awards include President’s Choice and Peer’s Choice awards in the Woman Artists of the West Juried show, First Place in Women’s History Month Art Exhibit and Outstanding Poster and Program Design for Cheyenne Theatre. She has participated as a judge in a number of juried student art shows including for the Wyoming State Fair and has served as the treasurer of the Wyoming High School Art Education Association.

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