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  2. Education

    Scott Teays Elementary’s Berg Earns Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award

    Charleston, W. Va. (March 5, 2012) – In contemplating why she chose the teaching profession, one reason stands out above the rest for Linda L. Berg – an undying belief in family, community and global unity. “In fact, my dedication led me out of a cosmetology career into one of teaching,” she notes. “My desire grew in spite of difficult, single-parenting circumstances, as I trimmed away uncertainties for me and my children. A haircut was only temporary, but educating a child brought permanence. While nothing compares to years of curling up with my own children and a good book, I found motivation in watching eager children find courage to change and grasp life’s goodness.

    “As for my future, I’ll continually cut away the outdated, trim out new experiences and fashion lifelong learners,” says Berg. “Education is not just a vocation, but a cut above the rest. I guess I’m a teaching stylist; that’s the long and the short of it!”

    Today Berg herself, along with her sharp wit, stood a cut above. She was among only 12 teachers statewide to receive a 2012 Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award. Steven F. Leer, Arch Coal chairman and chief executive officer, made the announcement during an awards ceremony at the Clay Center. He was accompanied by West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin and West Virginia Education Association (WVEA) President Dale Lee.

    “Linda L. Berg’s teaching philosophy reiterates the Nelson Mandela quote, ‘It is what we make out of what we have, not what we are given, that separates one person from another,’” says Leer. “She inspires lifelong learning in her students from day one – passionately enforcing the message that where they live, what they wear and who they know plays no role. It’s who they are inside and the process of discovering it.”

    With more than 17 years as an educator, Berg teaches fifth-grade students at Scott Teays Elementary, Scott Depot. “Daily I enter class knowing I’m only a step in front of the next generation, so I motivate students to learn, change and grow,” she notes. “In my inclusions classrooms, problem-based units require critical thinking, and group projects heighten participation. I maintain a creative, comfortable environment that entices and challenges. In doing so, I differentiate projects and assessments to maximize learning. Experiencing success, confidence and responsibility as lifelong learners motivates both them and me.”

    Berg earned an associate degree at Illinois Central College, East Peoria; a bachelor’s degree at Illinois State University, Normal; and a master’s degree +45 hours at West Virginia University. She has achieved National Board Certification and mentors others in the process. Berg traveled to Japan on a Fulbright scholarship and has been nominated for the Cyrus R. Vance Award. She assists new and tenured teachers and also offers training in language arts in her county and through the Central W.Va. National Writing Project, on which Berg has served as continuity coordinator and executive committee member. She is a certified technology integration specialist, and she trains new teachers in classroom management workshops through the W.Va. Center for Professional Development. At the state level, Berg is a teaching cadre member for the Clay Center for cultural arts, and she served as state team leader at W.Va. Hill Day in Washington, D.C., to lobby for NBCT candidate-support funding. Berg sponsors a Young Authors and Illustrators Contest and is a former Putnam County Teacher of the Year. She further supports her community through participation in a range of extracurricular, philanthropic and charitable initiatives.

    In addition to recognition, Teacher Achievement awardees receive a $3,500 unrestricted cash prize, 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 recipient’s school 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 Teacher Achievement Awards is the longest running, privately sponsored teacher-recognition program in the state. Nominations are made by the public, and selection is made by a blue-ribbon panel of the teachers’ peers – previous recipients of the award.

    The Arch Coal Foundation also supports teacher-recognition or grant programs in Wyoming, Utah and Colorado, as well as a number of other education-related causes.

    U.S.-based Arch Coal, Inc. (NYSE:ACI) is a top five global coal producer and marketer, and the most diversified American coal company, with  mining complexes across every major U.S. coal supply basin. In 2011, Arch continued to lead the U.S. coal industry in safety performance and environmental compliance among large, diversified producers. In West Virginia, Arch Coal subsidiaries operate mining complexes at Beckley; Buckhannon (Imperial); Cowen (Eastern); Grafton (Tygart); Holden (Coal-Mac); Morgantown (Patriot); Philippi (Sentinel); and Sharples (Mountain Laurel).