Education

Spring Mills Middle School’s Samantha Slone
Receives Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award

Martinsburg, W.Va., March 23, 2016 – “I chose to teach because I wanted to use my skills and creativity to make school an inspiring place for my students,” said Samantha Slone. “My own experiences as a student in West Virginia showed me what a powerful impact a good teacher can have on motivating kids to focus on their own success, not only in that particular class, but also in life.

“Some of my best teachers taught me not only content, but also life skills such as organization, time management and resilience,” she continued. “They showed the joy that curiosity and hard work can bring. The ever-changing nature of teaching motivates me, because I enjoy figuring out new methods and materials to help my students learn.”

As a result of Slone’s ability to advocate for her students, she received statewide recognition today at a student assembly held at Spring Mills Middle School. She 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 Samantha Slone with an Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award,” said John W. Eaves, Arch Coal chairman and chief executive officer. “Her dedication to the teaching profession and to ensuring the success of her students will serve the citizens of the state well, both now and in the future. Samantha 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.”

Slone teaches reading and language arts to seventh-grade students at Spring Mills Middle School in Martinsburg. She has nine years of teaching experience. “If you enjoy being in your classroom, your students will too,” she said. “First, I want my students to feel respected and cared for, because that is the way I would want to feel. This leads to a strong, safe classroom community structured for learning. Second, if I am bored, my students are bored. They need to use technology, move, discuss, view, read and write in the course of every lesson. I don't want the majority of their day to be a ‘sit still and listen!’ experience.”

“Mrs. Slone is an exceptional leader and student advocate,” said Nancy Melonas, assistant principal at Spring Mills Middle School. “She teaches, informs and inspires others. She demonstrates care and compassion for her students, is an advocate for her students and does what it takes to make a difference in her students’ lives.”

Slone earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in multidisciplinary studies and a Master of Arts degree in elementary education from West Virginia University, Morgantown. She serves on Spring Mills’ Instructional Practices Inventory, Student Assistance and Leadership teams and was involved in starting the school’s recycling program, which is a partnership with the Martinsburg Rescue Mission.

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 archteacherawards.com.