Craig Middle School teacher receives Peabody Energy Leaders in Education award |

Craig Middle School teacher receives Peabody Energy Leaders in Education award

Erin Fenner
From left, Craig Middle School Principal Joe Libby and Scott Harrell, director of human resources for Colorado Peabody, present the Peabody Energy Leaders in Education Award and $1,000 to CMS science teacher Norm Yoast.
Erin Fenner

— Norm Yoast, eighth-grade science teacher at Craig Middle School, was not expecting to get pulled into a midday assembly Monday. He certainly wasn’t expecting an award.

Peabody Energy awards educators and school staff across the country to celebrate the valuable work schools do.

So the eighth-grade class, middle school Principal Joe Libby and Peabody representatives surprised Yoast with the Peabody Energy Leaders in Education award and a check for $1,000.

“What we do on a national basis is recognize educators,” said Scott Harrell, director of human resources for Colorado Peabody who, along with human resources manager Ron Spangler, presented the award to Yoast.

Libby expressed pride that one of his school’s teachers got the award.

“It’s fantastic. (Yoast) does a great job,” he said. “He connects the curriculum with day-to-day life.”

Educational professionals receive the awards via a competitive nomination process, Harrell said.

“All the applicants are very worthy and very involved with the kids,” he said.

Yoast was pleased to receive the honor.

“It feels good to be recognized for something you do every day that you hope you do well,” he said.

Yoast is not only a teacher, he also coaches the middle school football team and is an assistant coach for the Moffat County High School girls basketball team. Additionally, he teaches a practical class for middle school students: a river-watching course that takes science lessons outside.

He’s active in the educational community and is well-liked by his students.

“I see kids a lot of different ways,” he said.

He wants to keep taking a creative and fun approach to teaching, Yoast said.

I plan to “keep trying to find new ways to teach,” he said. “Every day is different.”

At the end of the school year, Yoast will get the opportunity to be honored again at a gala with other Leaders in Education award recipients. At that gala, Peabody will name one of the recipients Educator of the Year and give them an additional $5,000 award.

Originally, Yoast was supposed to receive the award in January. But because it was intended to be a surprise presentation and Yoast was busy with coaching responsibilities, Peabody pushed the announcement back a couple of months.

Contact Erin Fenner at 970-875-1794 or


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