East High School’s Joseph Allen
Receives Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award

Cheyenne, Wyo., May 2, 2016 – Joseph Allen, like many young boys, was attracted to the thought that he would grow up to be a police officer – or maybe a wildlife biologist. “But after high school, I realized that these professions had not directly influenced my life,” he said. “I realized my knowledge and education were the most valuable things I had been given as a child, and it was the amazing teachers along my path who had shaped who I was and had shown me how to continue learning far beyond school.

“In short, I chose teaching because of the amazing teachers in my life, the people who took the time and cared enough to ensure I was equipped to be not only productive, but also passionate about something in this world,” he continued. “That passion for me now is educating young people about the importance of agriculture in our society today. Teaching agriculture has now become more than a profession, it has become who I am.”

As a result of Allen’s passion for teaching, he received statewide recognition today at a student assembly held at East 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 Joseph Allen 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.”

Allen teaches Agriculture Education to seventh- through 12th-grade students at East High School in Cheyenne. He has 10 years of teaching experience. “The most gratifying moment for me has been when a student has taken the time to thank me for everything I have taught them,” he said. “It is never the part where they thank me for teaching them about cows, sows or plows. The whole reason I continue to teach is because of the students who have thanked me for teaching them how to think, how to approach life or about having a solid work ethic.”

“Mr. Allen tirelessly gives his time as an FFA advisor and to his students in agriculture classes at East High School,” said Kirsten Rief, a former Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award winner who nominated Allen for the award. “He brings agriculture to life in his classroom through hands-on projects When I asked our son, Jeremy, what Mr. Allen has taught him the most as a freshman he said, ‘He has taught us to be self-reliant. We need to do the hard work and we cannot rely on others to do it for us.’ ”

Allen earned a Bachelor of Science degree in agriculture business and a Master of Arts degree from the University of Wyoming in Laramie. He is an active volunteer at his church and a number of other civic organizations. He also has led his Future Farmers of America (FFA) students in a wide variety of service projects such as March of Dimes, K9s for Mobility, the local Veteran’s Administration hospital, the Cheyenne Safe House and the Laramie County Cowbelles’ annual Agriculture Expo. Allen is a past Arch Coal Golden Apple recipient and received the 2015 Cheyenne Teachers Education Association Teacher of the Year award.

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

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