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Arch Coal Honors 12 West Virginia Classroom Teachers, Marks 25th Anniversary of Prestigious Teacher Awards Program

CHARLESTON, W.Va., March 28, 2013 -- Celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Teacher Achievement Awards, the Arch Coal Foundation named 12 outstanding West Virginia classroom teachers today as recipients of the prestigious award. It is West Virginia's longest-running privately sponsored teacher recognition program.

The announcement was made by John W. Eaves, Arch Coal president and chief executive officer. He was accompanied by West Virginia Education Association (WVEA) President Dale Lee.

The 2013 Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award recipients are:

Michele Adams Spring Mills Middle School Martinsburg
Megan A. Bacorn Union Elementary School Buckhannon
Cynthia Burke Sherrard Middle School Wheeling
Kimberly Cook Summersville Elementary School Summersville
James L. Dennis Parkersburg South High School Parkersburg
Virginia Hicks Buckhannon Academy Elementary School Buckhannon
Deidra L. Mahon Chapmanville Middle School Chapmanville
Amanda Sammons Meadows Bradley Elementary School Mt. Hope
Amy Salmons Tug Valley High School Williamson
Brooke Scott Union Elementary School Buckhannon
Erin Sponaugle Tomahawk Intermediate School Hedgesville
Jayne Whitlow Parkersburg South High School Parkersburg

"Today, Arch Coal celebrates teaching excellence in West Virginia, where for 25 years this program has been honoring teachers who make our schools and communities successful," said Eaves.

"This year's Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award winners come from different backgrounds but share common traits. In addition to being teachers, they are lifelong learners and expect excellence from their students and themselves," Eaves said. "On behalf of the 1,800 employees of Arch and its subsidiaries in West Virginia, it is our privilege to recognize these teachers."

"We are blessed to have wonderful teachers who work each and every day to guide our children and help them to become the best they can be -- through challenging, rigorous course work that opens the door to new opportunities," said West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin of the awards. "This year's Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award recipients are outstanding examples of the wonderful teachers we have in our state. I'm grateful Arch Coal continues to provide this much-deserved recognition as it not only supports the award winners -- it also inspires others to be their best and, in turn, benefits our children. Education is, and should always be, about what is best for our kids. I want to thank the award recipients for always putting the best interests of their students first. Congratulations."

"WVEA is pleased to again partner with the Arch Coal Foundation's Teacher Achievement Awards," said Lee. "It is refreshing to find a corporation such as Arch Coal that understands the value of teaching and the dedication of West Virginia's teachers to the academic success of their students. It is even rarer to find one that is willing to support a program that exists for 25 years to honor those teachers. WVEA thanks Arch Coal and especially all the outstanding teachers throughout West Virginia for their commitment to public education."

Retired Parkersburg elementary school teacher Lois Meadows, a recipient in 1998, also spoke on behalf of the 24 years of past teachers who received the award. She said the award validated her teaching abilities and has allowed her to "let the light of many other teachers shine" as she has nominated many worthy teachers from around West Virginia for this award.

The public nominates teachers, and a blue-ribbon peer panel of the award recipients selects the winners. In addition to recognition, Teacher Achievement Awards recipients receive a $3,500 unrestricted cash award, a distinctive trophy and a classroom plaque. The West Virginia Foundation for the Improvement of Education, a foundation of WVEA, makes a $1,000 award to each public school with a recipient, for use with at-risk students.

The teacher recognition awards are underwritten by the Arch Coal Foundation and supported in program-promotion by the West Virginia Department of Education, the WVEA and the West Virginia Library Commission. The Arch Coal Foundation also supports teacher recognition or grants programs in Wyoming, Utah and Colorado, as well as a number of other education-related causes.

St. Louis-based Arch Coal, Inc. (NYSE:ACI) is one of the world's top coal producers for the global steel and power generation industries, serving customers in 25 countries on five continents. Its network of mining complexes is the most diversified in the United States, spanning every major coal basin in the nation. In West Virginia, Arch Coal subsidiaries employ about 1,800 people. Arch Coal and the Arch Coal Foundation have a long history of supporting educational and community causes in West Virginia. For more information, visit