Mercer Elementary School’s Aleta Jo Crotty
Receives Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award

Princeton, W.Va., March 16, 2016 – “My mother was an elementary classroom teacher and she played a major role in my career path,” said Aleta Jo Crotty. “She was very dedicated to the teaching profession, and even after retirement at age 72 she continued to volunteer in our county. As a young child, I remember her stories of helping struggling children. I knew that I wanted to be a positive force in the lives of young children – just like my mother.

“The enthusiasm my students have for my class motivates me to continue to teach,” she continued. “I think the most important thing I do for my students is to help each child experience the sense of success. When students are successful, they are more likely to engage in physical activity outside the school setting. I strive to provide a positive lasting impression that will lead my students to a lifetime of enjoying physical activity.”

As a result of Crotty’s ability to motivate her students, she received statewide recognition today at a student assembly held at Mercer Elementary 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 Aleta Jo Crotty 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. Aleta Jo 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.”

Crotty teaches physical education at Mercer Elementary School in Princeton. She has 35 years of teaching experience. “Physical Education is for everyone regardless of gender, race or skill level,” she said. “I have created a physically safe environment where students feel secure emotionally and socially. The use of rules, guidelines and expectations set the tone for a climate of fairness and respect for all students. I love to step outside the box and shock my students with a new activity.”

“The students love Aleta Jo’s classes not because they are allowed to ‘play,’ but because Aleta Jo becomes every student's personal and life coach,” said Linda Poff, a teacher at Pikeview Middle School in Princeton. “She has the unique ability to build on individual student’s strengths, rather than focusing on their weaknesses. Aleta Jo’s impact on literally thousands of students who have had the opportunity to learn from her is impossible to measure. These students had a rare glimpse of success and motivation – the belief that they could accomplish anything if they worked hard – because Aleta Jo believed in them.”

Crotty earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Concord College in Athens, W.Va., a master’s degree from Salem-Teikyo University in Salem, W.Va., and her master’s degree plus 45 hours from Marshall University in Huntington, W.Va. She also has received her National Board Certification. Crotty has attended a number of additional professional development courses, including the first Health and Physical Education Leadership Academy offered by the West Virginia Department of Education. She subsequently served as the academy director for three years. Crotty was a past Mercer Elementary Teacher of the Year and Mercer County Teacher of the Year. She has been an active member of the West Virginia Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance, where she has held a number of leadership positions. She also has served as Mercer Elementary faculty senate president and on the local school improvement council. She also is active in a number of church and community organizations.

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