Education

Riverside High School’s Jim Hoffman
Receives Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award

Basin, Wyo., May 10, 2016 – When James Hoffman decided to teach, he essentially was joining the family business. “I am the oldest of five children,” he said. “When I was growing up my family ran a daycare from our house. Children have always been an important part of my life and teaching is an important part of my family’s life. Last count we had 23 teachers in the family! We always joked we should start our own school.

 “I find teaching to be very fulfilling,” he continued. “I like to build a personal, guiding relationship with each of my students. This is why I always teach in small schools. I can create a lifetime bond with a student by assisting them in class for three or four years. Most of my students learn to enjoy mathematics because they respect my efforts on their behalf.”

As a result of Hoffman’s ability to create bonds with his students, he received statewide recognition today at a student assembly held at Riverside High School. He 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 James Hoffman with an Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award in recognition of his dedication to the teaching profession and to ensuring the success of his students,” said John W. Eaves, chairman and chief executive officer. “He 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.”

Hoffman teaches mathematics to ninth- through 12th-grade students at Riverside High School. He has 30 years of teaching experience. “I believe the skills the students must learn go far beyond the curriculum,” he said. “Obviously each student will need certain math skills regardless of career choice. Equally important will be skills required to be successful in life. Can the student express their thoughts clearly and concisely? Can he or she work with a team? Is the student accepting of others with a different opinion? Can he or she provide an opposing point of view without conflict? Does the student exhibit empathy? Compassion? Understanding? Any future employer, spouse, or child will appreciate these skills.”

“Jim Hoffman is an incredible teacher who works tirelessly to help students succeed,” said Jennifer Simmons, assistant director of the Washakie Museum and Cultural Center. “As a colleague, I very much admired Jim’s commitment to high expectations for his students and his willingness to help his students meet those expectations. He uses a multitude of teaching techniques and applies multiple forms of technology in order to ensure his students are learning what he needs them to learn.”

Hoffman earned a Bachelor of Science degree and a Master of Science degree in education technology from Chadron State College, in Chadron, Neb. He also has completed a number of additional courses in the areas of technology, gifted education, multicultural studies and research techniques in astronomy. He has served as an instructor at Astrocamp, a free, 10-day science camp for middle school students from Wyoming, Colorado, western Nebraska and western South Dakota, and volunteers with Destination Imagination, a problem-solving competition for students that promotes teamwork, communication, quick thinking and goal setting.

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.