When it comes to education, Dale Lee, president of West Virginia Education Association, said things have changed over the years.
During the Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award ceremony, Lee applauded the 12 recipients for dedication in the face of change and renewed challenges.
"Unfortunately we live in an age when the teacher's dedication is not enough for many of our students to succeed," Lee said. "Students come from broken homes…live in poverty. Many have bad home environments. Many are truant or absent from school on a regular basis and some are homeless. Others have parents that do not value education or are uninterested in their child's schoolwork. All these problems and more are carried into the public schools each and every day by our students."
To help teachers continue to teach at the highest level, Lee said "our elected leaders must get serious about public education and stop…jumping on all the latest fads in guise of education reform."
Continuing to address competitive pay for teachers and making West Virginia salaries competitive with other states to "stop the exodus of our newly trained teachers" is another step in helping teachers teach effectively, Lee said.
Governor Earl Ray Tomblin and John Eaves, Arch Coal president and chief executive officer, also spoke during the ceremony.
The 2014 Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award recipients for the 26th class were: Pamela Bush, Logan Middle School; Angela Culicerto, Park Middle School; Lorraine Davis, Tug Valley High School; Rosetta L. Epifano, Sherrard Middle School; Adrin Fisher, Fairmont Senior High School; Corey Humphrey, Grafton High School; Leigh Kinder, Gilmer County High School; Mary Anne Mullenax, North Marion High School; Valerie L. Mullins, Dixie Elementary School; Sonya Shockey, Hedgesville High School; Candace Smith, Tuscarora Elementary School; Laura VanHorn, North Elementary School.
In addition to recognition, each teacher was presented with a $3,500 unrestricted cash award, a trophy and a classroom plaque.