Campbell County High School's Christopher Lubken

Gillette, Wyo., May 7, 2014 – A love for music and the encouragement of a college professor led Christopher Lubken to his career as a band teacher. “It has been one of the best decisions of my life!” Lubken said. 

“That passion and the joy I experience while working with high school students is what constantly pushes me to continue as a teacher,” he continued. “The three most important things I can do for my students are to give them opportunities to excel as musicians, equip them with the tools to succeed and provide quality personal guidance.”

As a result of Lubken’s ability to help his students succeed, he received statewide recognition today. He was one of only 10 teachers to receive a 2014 Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award. John W. Eaves, Arch Coal president and chief executive officer, made the announcement during a ceremony at Campbell County High School in Gillette. He was accompanied by Gov. Matt Mead, First Lady Carol Mead and Wyoming Education Association President Kathy Vetter. This is the 14th year the Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Awards have been presented in Wyoming. It is the longest-running, privately funded teacher recognition program in the state.

“We’re honored to recognize the 10 outstanding Wyoming teachers who were named as this year’s recipients of the Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Awards,” Eaves said. “Collectively, these 10 individuals represent all of the teachers statewide who are committed to making Wyoming thrive through educational excellence. Individually, they have a thirst for knowledge and a passion for teaching children, and they work tirelessly each day to help their students succeed. For this, we applaud them.”

Lubken teaches marching, concert, jazz and steel drum bands at Campbell County High School in Gillette. He has 15 years of teaching experience. “My teaching philosophy is best illustrated with a box of 64 Crayola crayons,” Lubken said. “Each student is like an individual crayon, with different skills and abilities, unique from every other student in the box. My job is to ‘sharpen’ my students and unite them as a complete box of crayons that will produce a wonderful picture – a musical performance – together.”

“Christopher Lubken is a great band director,” said Janice Gray, a band booster parent. “He also is a great teacher. He truly cares about the students in the different bands. He believes in the students and also goes the extra mile to help them become better musicians. His dedication to the students and the band is unmatched.”

Lubken holds an associate degree from Northwest College in Powell, Wyo., and bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music from the University of Alaska-Fairbanks. He also has completed 25 additional hours of college courses and has attended professional development training at the Wyoming Music Educators State Convention, the Western International Band Clinic Convention, the All Northwest Conference and the National Association for the Music Education National Convention. His bands have been invited to perform at a number of state and local education and community events, and he has served as guest conductor for several state and regional honors bands. 

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 $3,500 personal cash award. 

The Teacher Achievement Awards are underwritten by the Arch Coal Foundation and are supported in program promotion by the Wyoming Department of Education, the Wyoming Education Association, the Wyoming library community, Taco John’s and Loaf ‘N Jug stores.

Arch Coal and the Arch Coal Foundation have a long history of supporting educational and community causes in Wyoming. The Arch Coal Foundation also supports teacher recognition or grants programs in West Virginia and Colorado, as well as a number of other education-related causes. Information about each of today’s 10 Wyoming recipients, as well as past recipients, is posted at archteacherwards.com.

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 on five continents. Its network of mining complexes is the most diversified in the United States, spanning every major coal basin in the nation. Arch Coal’s Thunder Basin Coal Company, which employs nearly 1,800 people in Wyoming, operates the Black Thunder and Coal Creek mines. For more information, visit archcoal.com and responsible.archcoal.com.
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