Education

Jackson Elementary School’s  Meredith Huggins
Receives Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award

Jackson, Wyo., May 11, 2016 – Meredith Huggins’ future career choice was inspired in part by her coal-miner father. “I vividly remember watching him lace up his steel-toed boots when I was a small child, preparing for his ‘graveyard’ shift as a field mechanic,” she said. “His constant mantra to me was that I was going to attend college, and that my life was meant to be spent as an educator. Even then, my future passion was apparent.

“I chose to become a teacher because I love children,” she continued. “I adore a child’s curiosity, their ability to constantly revise their thinking, the innovative nature of the young brain and the hope that is inherent in the application of new learning. My strength as an educator is developing and maintaining relationships, which motivates me to continue to teach. Each new school year brings an entirely new cocktail of personalities, learning styles and opportunities for growth.”

As a result of Huggins’ ability to inspire her students, she received statewide recognition today at a student assembly held at Jackson Elementary School. She becomes one of only 10 Wyoming teachers to receive a 2016 Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award. This is the 16th year the awards have been presented in Wyoming. It is the longest-running, privately funded teacher recognition program in the state.

“We are honored to present Meredith Huggins with an Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award in recognition of her dedication to the teaching profession and to ensuring the success of her students,” said John W. Eaves, chairman and chief executive officer. “She is among the many outstanding Wyoming classroom teachers who strive diligently each day to provide their students with a high-quality education. We congratulate them all for their professionalism and commitment to enriching the lives of their students and ensuring a bright future for the state.”

Huggins teaches first-grade students at Jackson Elementary School. She has 10 years of teaching experience. “I believe that every child matters,” she said. “I know this because all of my students have shaped the educator, mother and person that I am. I know that all of them will impact the world in ways that I can only dream of, and in ways that I have been privileged to observe.”

“When parents walk into Meredith’s classroom, they realize that their child is in the presence of a truly exceptional teacher,” said Principal Scott Eastman. “Everything about the environment and her demeanor exudes warmth, a love of children and learning, and an intense resolve that you know will translate into immense academic, social and emotional growth.

Huggins earned an Associate of Science degree from Western Wyoming Community College, Rock Springs, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in elementary education and a Master of Arts degree in curriculum and instruction from the University of Wyoming in Laramie. She is a volunteer at both First Baptist Church and Habitat for Humanity in Jackson Hole, and has led student volunteer projects to support military members serving overseas, as well as patients in a children’s medical center.

Teachers are nominated by the public, and a blue-ribbon panel of past awards recipients selects the annual winners. Each recipient is presented with a distinctive trophy, a classroom plaque and a personal cash award.

The Teacher Achievement Awards are underwritten by the Arch Coal Foundation and are supported in program promotion by the Office of the Governor, the Wyoming Department of Education, the Wyoming Library Community, the Wyoming Education Association (WEA), Taco John’s and Loaf ‘N Jug.

“Teachers play a vital role in shaping the future,” said Wyoming Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow. “Their impact reaches not only their students and their school, but also their community and our state. I’m so proud to have a multitude of excellent educators in Wyoming and grateful that Arch Coal has supported teachers through this award for generations. Arch Coal is a wonderful partner in education and in recognizing, even in difficult times, the significant and valuable contribution made by these teachers.”

“The governor and legislators have made education a priority in Wyoming through investing in a great system and our Wyoming students; those dollars are paying off. Significant funding for K-12 comes directly from the mining industry and I would like to thank them for all they do to educate students in our state, as our students are truly our future. Recent reports show that Wyoming students lead the West, and the WEA is confident that support for a strong education in Wyoming will continue in the future,” said WEA President Kathy Vetter.

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. Information about Wyoming recipients, as well as past recipients, is posted at archteacherawards.com.

U.S.-based Arch Coal, Inc. is a top coal producer for the global steel and power generation industries, reliably serving customers worldwide. Its network of large-scale, low-cost mining complexes is the most diversified in the United States, spanning every major coal basin in the nation. Arch Coal’s Thunder Basin Coal Company operates the Black Thunder and Coal Creek mines in Wyoming. For more information, visit archcoal.com.