Friday, April 07, 2006

Fairmont State University's first Master in Education graduate, Lori E. Knight Stiles, is the recipient of the Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award, the longest running privately funded teacher recognition in West Virginia.

This year, 12 state teachers were named Arch Coal Award winners from a field of more than 450 nominees. Stiles has been a teacher at Musselman High School in Berkeley County, W.Va., for five years. A member of the special education department, she is only the third teacher in Berkeley County to win the Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award.

Stiles first graduated from Fairmont State in 1993 with a bachelor's degree in education. She made history in May 2005 when she became FSU's first official Master in Education graduate.

"Lori Stiles' classroom is not only a place of learning; it is a happy, safe and cheerful place," said Steven F. Leer, Arch Coal President and Chief Executive Officer. "Even though her students are challenged, she believes that all her students have the ability to learn and grow. Arch Coal appreciates her dedication to her students."

Stiles received a trophy and plaque and a special $2,500 unrestricted personal cash award. The school also received a $1,000 grant from the West Virginia Foundation for the Improvement of Education to use to help at-risk students. Stiles used part of her award to treat her entire class to an all expenses paid trip to see the Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus in Washington, D.C.

"I was very shocked when I got the call saying I had won," Stiles said. "There are so many deserving teachers out there who do such a great job every day. I can't believe that I was selected for such a great honor. It felt like winning the sweepstakes."

In addition to the degrees she holds from Fairmont State, Stiles also earned a Master of Science degree in Journalism from West Virginia University. In addition to her teaching job, she is employed by Choice Service Coordination of Martinsburg, W.Va., where she helps provide services and writes educational programs for mentally challenged individuals throughout the Eastern panhandle. She is married to Michael Stiles, a 1991 Fairmont State graduate and Musselman High staff member and theatre director.