Education

Guernsey-Sunrise Secondary School’s Kathy Watson
Receives Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award

Guernsey, Wyo., May 3, 2016 – Kathryn Watson’s early years on a family farm led her to her ultimate career. “I collected rocks and castoff or abandoned animals,” she explained. “I had ‘science projects’ with chicken eggs going on at home even before I was old enough to know what a science project was. Science became my favorite subject in school. The more I could learn about science, the happier I was. Add to that my love of children, and teaching became a natural choice for me.

“The teaching profession allows me to learn more each day about science and share that knowledge in creative ways with students. It challenges me to learn strategies that might excite students who really don't care for science. It also gives me the opportunity to provide learning scenarios for students who love learning how the world works and want to discover more. But most importantly, it allows me to build relationships with students as a mentor and role model.”

As a result of Watson’s ability to make science exciting for her students, she received statewide recognition today at a student assembly held at Guernsey-Sunrise Secondary 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 Kathryn Watson 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.”

Watson teaches physical science, geology, chemistry and physics to eighth- through 12th-grade students at Guernsey-Sunrise Secondary School. She has 26 years of teaching experience. “I believe that each student who walks through my door is a unique individual who deserves my respect and my best effort each day,” she said. “I am there to help them learn and grow in the area of science. I feel that it is also my responsibility to encourage students to become more mature emotionally, physically and socially.

“Ms. Watson is always one of the first to arrive in the morning and the last to leave at night,” said Superintendent Mike Beard. “She is always prepared for class, offering engaging and stimulating lessons that cause her students to think outside of the box and push their personal limits. She sets high goals for her classes and does what is needed to help her students achieve these goals. Although Guernsey-Sunrise is a small, rural school, Ms. Watson brings a lot of ‘big school’ ideas and lessons to her classes.”

Watson earned a Bachelor of Science degree in biology and a Master of Science degree in natural science from the University of Wyoming in Laramie. She has received National Board Certification and has completed a number of additional professional development courses. She teaches Sunday School classes at her church, and she and her husband started the Fellowship of Christian Athletes program at her Guernsey-Sunrise.

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 mine in Wyoming. For more information, visit archcoal.com.