Parkersburg South High School’s Carl Brainard
Receives Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award

Parkersburg, W.Va., March 15, 2016 – “Teaching can be a challenging profession,” said Carl Brainard. “However, the rewards are very gratifying and I personally love what I am doing today. I am an industrial arts teacher – or more correctly a technology education teacher, or ‘shop teacher.’

“When a student finishes my curriculum and completes a portfolio, among other requirements, they are considered to be ‘completers,’ he continued. “We develop our program to simulate a workplace environment as much as possible. My areas are manufacturing, transportation, construction and communication systems classes. Much of what I teach is accomplished through project-based learning. The students that take my classes have a heterogeneous mix of talents and abilities. Consequently, I look for ways to group students in teams where they can support each other through their strengths.”

As a result of Brainard’s ability to encourage his students, he received statewide recognition today at a student assembly held at Parkersburg South High School. He becomes one of only 10 West Virginia teachers to receive a 2016 Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award. This is the 28th year the awards have been presented in West Virginia. It is the longest-running, privately funded teacher recognition program in the state.

“We are honored to recognize an outstanding West Virginia teacher such as Carl Brainard with an Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award,” said John W. Eaves, Arch Coal chairman and chief executive officer. “His dedication to the teaching profession and to ensuring the success of his students will serve the citizens of the state well, both now and in the future. Carl is just one of the many West Virginia classroom educators who are constantly striving to adapt to new teaching methods, technologies and curriculum. We congratulate them all on their commitment to improving the lives of those in the state.”

Brainard teaches technology education as part of the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) curriculum at Parkersburg South High School. He has 30 years of teaching experience. “Sometimes students that don’t do well in academic classes thrive in my classroom because of its tactile ‘hands on’ nature,” he said. “I found out early in my teaching experience that a little bit of encouragement goes a long way. One student that I had a long while back was getting in trouble on a daily basis, so one day I caught him helping another student on a project. I wrote out a note to his mother that he had been ‘caught doing something good.’ Years later, he told me that his mom had placed that note on the refrigerator and that it was still there! That incident set me thinking about the teacher that I wanted to become. I wanted to be an encourager.”

“Year after year I have watched Carl accept the challenge of taking students struggling with grades, discipline and attendance issues,” said Douglas Kiger, principal/director of technical and adult education for the Wood County Schools. “With a fair but firm attitude he has found a way to develop and instill a sense of purpose, ownership, pride and teamwork with these students. All of a sudden a student who was considered at risk is now making suggestions and asking questions to improve a process or even change an entire concept of a project. Students who wouldn’t talk can’t wait to talk. Students who had no direction found a home and see their own potential in a future that at one time didn’t exist.”

Brainard earned an Associate of Arts degree from Ohio Valley College in Parkersburg, a Bachelor of Science degree from California University of Pennsylvania in California, Pa., and a Master of Arts degree from West Virginia University, Morgantown. Brainard is department chair of technology education, consumer science and prevention support at Parkersburg South. He has attended a number of educational training sessions conducted by Applied Learning Strategies, Lions Quest International and the Odyssey of the Mind (OM) Association. His OM teams have competed on the state, national and world level, with one team capturing the coveted Renatra Fusca award for creative design and expression. He is a trainer for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s OSHA 10 and OSHA 30 classes, which allows him to certify his construction students so they can obtain their OSHA-certification cards for their portfolios.

Teachers are nominated by the public, and a blue-ribbon panel of past awards recipients selects the annual winners. Each Teacher Achievement Awards recipient is presented with a distinctive trophy, a classroom plaque and a personal cash award. The West Virginia Foundation for the Improvement of Education, a foundation of the West Virginia Education Association (WVEA), also presents a $1,000 cash award to each recipient’s school for use with at-risk students.

“The West Virginia Education Association and the West Virginia Foundation for the Improvement of Education are pleased to partner with Arch Coal as it recognizes some of the great teachers that work throughout our state,” said WVEA President Dale Lee. “Teachers are rarely honored for the hard work and long hours they put into providing a high-quality education for the students of our state, and I want to thank Arch Coal for recognizing our teachers. These teachers exemplify the spirit and dedication of their peers throughout the state.”

The Teacher Achievement Awards are underwritten by the Arch Coal Foundation and are supported in program promotion by the West Virginia Department of Education, the WVEA and the West Virginia Library Commission.

Arch Coal and the Arch Coal Foundation have a long history of supporting educational and community causes in West Virginia. The Arch Coal Foundation also supports teacher recognition or grants programs in Wyoming and Colorado. Information about West Virginia recipients, as well as past recipients, is posted at