Education

Summit Elementary School’s Chrissy Owen
Receives Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award

Casper, Wyo., May 4, 2016 – Chrissy Owen’s teaching experience began at a very early age. “I vividly remember the day in my second grade classroom when my teacher asked me to stay in from recess and help another child with his math homework,” she said. “I sat with him and told him what I said to myself when I did the problems. He looked up at me and said, ‘Wow! Now, that finally makes sense!’ It was an overwhelming feeling to know that I had helped someone understand and I was hooked from that moment on.

“I feel the most important thing I can do for my students is to get them excited about learning and to recognize and nurture the individual gifts within them,” she continued. “It is vital to know the children’s academic needs but also who they are as a person. My job is to nurture the whole child. I see the child’s strengths as areas that need to be challenged and weaknesses as areas that need to be nurtured. I begin and end every day with a smile and a hug, letting my students know how much I value them.”

As a result of Owen’s ability to make her students feel valued, she received statewide recognition today at a student assembly held at Summit 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 Chrissy Owen 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.”

Owen teaches kindergarten students at Summit Elementary School. She has 15 years of teaching experience. “My primary goal as an educator is for all of my students to develop a deep love and passion for learning,” she said. “I foster this by creating a warm and caring learning environment where every child is encouraged to explore, discover, take risks and ask questions. It is my belief that every child needs to feel success, loved, empowered and valued.”

“Chrissy Owen is exceptional in every sense of the word,” said Wayne Tuttle, principal at Evansville, Wyoming, Elementary School and a former colleague of Owen. Tuttle was a 2014 Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award recipient. “Mrs. Owen demonstrates passion for students, commitment to excellence and vision for the future in which students will live. I have had the pleasure of working with her for nine years. Her passion for her students is unending. She carefully monitors and analyzes their progress and will work tirelessly to help them succeed.”

Owen earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in elementary education with an emphasis in early childhood education from the University of Wyoming in Laramie, and a Master of Education in technology from Lesley University, Cambridge, Mass. She has chaired the school’s technology and 21st Century Goal teams and served on the School Improvement and Professional Learning Community leadership teams. She also served on the district Math and Science Leadership Team and was the elementary school representative on the district Technology Advisory Committee.

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.