Dec 22, 2017

NGPF Podcast: Tim Talks To Educator Brett Shifrin (and His Students) at Gould Academy (ME)

To say Brett Shifrin is overscheduled is quite an understatement. Looking at his teacher profile at Gould Academy, one is left wondering how he gets it all done: Certified Financial Education (he built the course from scratch), Road Cycling Coach, Director of Ninth Grade Program, Advising Team Leader...and my favorite, Prep Snowboarding Coach (yes, Gould Academy is only minutes from the mountains) Brett is a math educator and an award winning one at that. He was selected Maine Financial Literacy Educator of the Year in 2016. Almost a decade ago, he was looking for ways to get students to apply these concepts to real life. He developed "The Mathematics of Finance" to accomplish that goal. Listen to the engaging approach he uses to get students interested in stocks. Think March Madness brackets applied to individual stocks. As our podcast progressed, Brett's students arrived for class so you will also get the opportunity to hear from them too. Enjoy!


  • 0:00–1:09 Introduction
  • 1:10–4:14 Teaching at an all boys boarding school: Brett of all trades
  • 4:15–7:23 How his Math of Finance course came to be
  • 7:24–12:27 Infographics, design courses, & making information appealing to students
  • 12:28–14:32 Overdraft protection: reading into the fine print of banks
  • 14:33–21:14 The true cost of time
  • 21:15–29:25 Brett explains how current events impact stocks
  • 29:26–32:36 Changing times, changing curriculum
  • 32:37–35:27 Explaining the ramifications of student debt & tracking spending habits
  • 35:28–40:39 Pitching a winning activity
  • 40:40–44:32 The “aha” moment: simplifying seemingly complex financial terms
  • 44:33–49:26 How students build off from each other through tête-à-tête competition
  • 49:27–51:35 Brett’s best buy for under $10
  • 51:36–53:38 His increasing fascination with compound interest
  • 53:39–54:18 Learning lessons from his biggest money blunder
  • 54:19–54:39 Run the numbers before you jump the gun
  • 54:40–55:24 His favorite news sites 
  • 55:25–59:37 Switching it up: Tim interviews the students!
  • 59:38–1:00:18 Conclusion

Details about Brett

  • Brett teaches at Gould Academy in Bethel, ME
  • Recently awarded 2016 Financial Literacy Educator of the Year in Maine

Other companies mentioned in the podcast

Helpful video mentioned by Brett

About the Authors

Danielle Bautista

Danielle is a native of Southern California and a recent graduate from the University of Maine, where she braved the frigid winters—a feat in and of itself—and earned her Bachelor's degree in International Affairs. She has a passion for working with non-profit organizations and serving populations in underprivileged communities. When Danielle isn't writing NGPF blog posts, spearheading various outreach projects, or managing contests and flash surveys, you can find her doing some sort of outdoor activity, learning a new hobby, or cracking what she thinks are witty puns!

Tim Ranzetta

Tim's saving habits started at seven when a neighbor with a broken hip gave him a dog walking job. Her recovery, which took almost a year, resulted in Tim getting to know the bank tellers quite well (and accumulating a savings account balance of over $300!). His recent entrepreneurial adventures have included driving a shredding truck, analyzing executive compensation packages for Fortune 500 companies and helping families make better college financing decisions. After volunteering in 2010 to create and teach a personal finance program at Eastside College Prep in East Palo Alto, Tim saw firsthand the impact of an engaging and activity-based curriculum, which inspired him to start a new non-profit, Next Gen Personal Finance.

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