Apr 16, 2018

Introducing NGPF Summer Institute 2018 Participants

June 2018

Adam Cole, Needham High School (Needham, MA)

Adam Cole is a dedicated educator who is passionate about preparing his students for life after high school.  After 8 years of teaching solely math, he added both personal finance and computer science to his schedule.  By connecting with local businesses and experts to make the material more engaging and meaningful, enrollment has doubled over the last 5 years.  In addition to teaching, he coaches both the Boys Swimming Team and the Golf Team and loves to travel and spend time with his wife and two sons. 


Adrienne Deakins, William Penn High School (New Castle, DE)

Adrienne is in her seventh year of teaching economics and personal finance at William Penn High School in New Castle, Delaware. She loves teaching personal finance because it is more relevant and important than ever.  She loves when she hears about former students making good financial decisions! 


Alan Gersten, Century High School (Santa Ana, CA)

Alan has been teaching for 27 years and is the director of a business academy at an inner-city high school in Southern California. He is very involved with Virtual Enterprise which is a competitive business simulation where students create their own businesses from scratch. Alan loves to collaborate and share ideas and is always looking to improve and evolve what he does in the classroom.


Amanda Medina, Sharyland High School (Mission, TX)

Amanda Medina is a 5-year Family Consumer Science teacher deep in the heart of Texas. Her passion for financial literacy stems from her own lack of understanding as a young college student and the mistakes newly launched adolescents often make. She was a 2016 Visa Practical Money Skills’ Innovative Educator and continues to promote personal finance skills at a Title One high school. Amanda will graduate with a Master’s in Family Studies in May and hopes to research the emotional side of purchasing. 


Aric Weiker, Interlake High School (Bellevue, WA)

Aric Weiker teaches Personal Finance, Business Management, Accounting and Retail Management at Interlake High School, an International Baccalaureate public school,  in Bellevue, WA. He is the co-advisor of the school’s DECA program and student store and lives nearby on Mercer Island with his wife, two teenage children and a fat cat. Mr. Weiker got hooked on teaching four years ago after volunteering for Junior Achievement when he was still working in Business Development for Microsoft in Redmond, WA.


Brenda Martin-Lee, Seneca High School (Tabernacle, NJ)

After several years of working in the business world, Brenda pursued her passion to be an educator. She completed her graduate degree in Business Administration as well as a certification in Educational Leadership and proudly became a Business Educator. It was immediately after, that she developed a passion for teaching personal finance and is currently the only teacher who teaches that course at Seneca.


James Redelsheimer, Robbinsdale Armstrong High School (Plymouth, MN)

James Redelsheimer has been an AP and Regular Economics teacher at Armstrong High School in Plymouth, Minnesota since 2003. In 2016 he received the Thrivent Personal Finance Leadership Award and in 2011 the 3M Economics Educator Excellence Award from the Minnesota Council on Economic Education. He is a Co-Author of Barron’s AP Economics and has received travel grants and fellowships for study travel to learn about the economies of Japan, China, Turkey, Germany, Korea, among others, and studied Environmental Economics in Costa Rica.


Joel Chrisler, Sauk Prairie High School (Prairie du Sac, WI)
28 years ago after accepting his first and only teaching position, Joel was asked  to create a class emphasizing economics and financial literacy. This is where he realized his passion. He could share stories of financial success, stories of financial hardship but most importantly the stories of how young people must prepare themselves for their own future. His course, Consumer Economics, is designed to benefit students immediately and his desire to improve it is what keeps him inspired.Besides teaching and coaching, he loves to spend time with his wife and 6 children.
Joy Tavano, North Kingstown High School (North Kingstown, RI)
Joy Tavano has been teaching business education for almost 18 years. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting and a Master of Arts in Teaching. Presently, she teaches Accounting and Consumer Math at North Kingstown High School in Rhode Island, in addition to running the school’s Internship program. She also writes and edits business education textbooks. Joy serves as Secretary of the RI Jump$tart Coalition where she is happy to help advocate for financial literacy education.


Kathleen Brennan, Mount Saint Mary Academy (Watchung, NJ) 

Kathleen Brennan has an MA in Economics and has spent the last nineteen years as a teacher at Mount Saint Mary Academy, a small Catholic girls’ high school in Watchung, NJ. She has taught all areas of math from Algebra I through AP Statistics and currently teaches AP Economics and Financial Math. She serves on the board of the NJ Council of Economic Education and has facilitated workshops in both economics and financial literacy in the New York metropolitan area.


Kelly-Anne Rush, Windham High School (Windham, ME)

During her 14 years as a social studies teacher, Kelly-Anne Rush developed and introduced curriculum for a new semester personal finance course, a graduation requirement for all seniors, which she’s been teaching for the past five years. Through her blog and social media platforms, Kelly-Anne shares and promotes financial literacy resources with teachers across the country. In addition to teaching, she’s passionate about renovating, decorating, traveling, thrifting, and finding the world’s best donut! 


Mihir Garud, Instituto Health Sciences Career Academy (Chicago, IL)

Mihir Garud teaches Consumer Education at Instituto Health Sciences Career Academy in Chicago. Financial literacy is a subject that he has a deep passion for and strongly believes that educational equity can be reached by educating students and families about practical money management skills and available options to pay for post-secondary education. Mihir is active in the community as an elected Trustee for the Chicago Teachers Union and sits on the emerging leaders board at the Center for Law and Social Work. 


July 2018

Brett Shifrin, Gould Academy (Bethel, ME)

Brett has been teaching mathematics for over 25 years.  After setting aside class time for students to ask about the economic downfall in 2008 and having students ask question for 90 minutes, he realized the importance of offering a course. Brett empowers his students to research financial concepts, utilize foundational knowledge, and analyze financial decisions using mathematics. He encourages his students to  embrace financial decisions and question any advice that is pushed upon them. Brett is also an avid cyclist and loves spending time with his family in the mountains of Maine hiking, biking, skiing and swimming.


Brian Page, Reading High School (Reading, OH)

Brian Page loves to teach personal finance at Reading Community City Schools in Ohio, where he was named the '11 Milken National Educator Recipient and CNN Money Hero. He served on the Working Group for President Obama's Advisory Council on Financial Capability and has proudly helped NGPF from the beginning. Brian spends most of his free time with his family, hiking, and following Ohio State football.


Deborah Kerby, Pocono Mountain East High School (Swiftwater, PA)

Deborah worked in industry as a computer programmer and support technician before starting her career in education. She has taught high school business and computer classes for 17 years, and has a doctorate in Education Leadership. She is passionate about education and encouraging young people to pursue a lifetime of learning.


Derek D'Angelo, Eisenhower High School (Shelby Township, MI)

Derek did his best to avoid eye contact with his principal in 2007 when Michigan made Economics a graduation requirement. Fast forward 11 years later and now Derek is helping re-write the state standards in his role as President of the Michigan Council on Economic Education. Holding down a dual role as a full time teacher and President of the Michigan Council is taxing, but Derek enjoys the opportunity to scale his efforts to improve economic and financial literacy education across the state. Additionally, Derek was recently elected by his peers to the Executive Committee of the National Association of Economic Educators (NAEE). Derek values authentic lessons that students can connect with and apply directly into their lives and has a passion for the use of technology in the classroom.


Hollly McWilliams, Winfield High School (Winfield, KS)

Holly has been in education for the past 10 years. She was lucky enough to be able to land her first job at her alma mater, Winfield High School, in Kansas.  Holly teaches a variety of classes like, entrepreneurship, general business, computer technology, but her favorite class to teach is personal finance. Personal finance is an important building block for our student’s futures and she is lucky to teach in a district that requires this class as a graduation requirement!  In her spare time Holly enjoys cheering on her students at their extra-curricular activities and spending time with her daughter Reese, and husband, Chase.


Jacqueline Prester, Mansfield High School (Mansfield, MA)

Jacqueline is a former financial software industry professional who found her true calling as a business and technology educator. She continuously seeks opportunities to provide authentic hands-on learning experiences for her students. Jacqueline was the 2015 Massachusetts Business Educator of the Year, serves on the board of directors for both the Massachusetts Business Educators Association and MassCUE, and co-founded Edcamp Southeastern Massachusetts. She is passionate about financial literacy, entrepreneurship, STEM, edtech, #GeekyShirtFriday, and the Red Sox!


Jenna Derkoski, Newton South High School (Newton, MA)

Jenna has been teaching for the past 6 years. Prior to teaching she worked in marketing for the Microsoft Corporation, where she gained business experience and wanted to share her passion with high school students.  Jenna is a business teacher and DECA advisor in Newton, Massachusetts, who started teaching personal finance 3 years ago and realized there is a lack of knowledge among high school students.  Jenna became dedicated to creating an engaging curriculum that covered all aspects of finance, so teenagers can gain the knowledge they need to make smart financial decisions. 


Julius Prezelski, Mt. St. Joseph High School (Baltimore, MD)

Julius began his career in the business world but soon transitioned into teaching where he could combine his passions for business and basketball. Inspired by Beth Kobliner’s, “Get a Financial Life”, he developed a business curriculum at DeMatha Catholic High School that evolved into multiple sections of Business Law and both standard and honors level Personal Finance Courses at Mt. St. Joseph’s. Julius believes that Personal Finance courses should be mandatory for high school and college curriculums and that gaining financial knowledge can be life changing. In addition to teaching, he moderates the school’s Business Club and Personal Finance Challenge Team.


Kathey Hatfield, Chiawana High School (Pasco, WA)

Kathey Hatfield has been teaching marketing and business in Washington State for 21 years.  Over her teaching career, Kathey has taught a variety of topics, but the topic she is most passionate about is financial literacy and wants to share her knowledge with all her students. She has been active in both FBLA, DECA, and coaching high school cheer.  She is also an adjunct instructor at Central Washington University.


Matt Pohlman, Manson Northwest Webster High School (Manson, IA)

Matt has taught business and computer classes in Iowa for 24 years. He has been at Manson Northwest Webster High School in Manson, Iowa for the past six years. He has taught both Jr./Sr.High School as well as local community college courses. Matt has always been passionate about business education and personal financial management for his students. In addition to teaching, Matt is also a sponsor/coach for his district's First Tech Challenge and SkillsUSA teams as well as coaching track and cross country teams for over 20 years. 


Patrick Kubeny, Rhinelander High School (Rhinelander, WI)

Patrick recently completed his 25th year of teaching high school business courses--all at Rhinelander High School. His professional passion is learning and teaching about financial literacy topics with his students, colleagues, friends, and family. His goal is to retire from classroom teaching at age 55 to provide for a more flexible work schedule so he can spend more enjoying the great outdoors, especially with his wife and two children. 


Sara Shackett, Lakewood High School (Lakewood, CO)

Sara has been teaching AP and IB economics for most of her 18 years of teaching. Passionate about economic education, she received the Enterprising Teacher of the Year award from the Colorado Council for Economic Education in 2009 and the Secondary Teacher of the Year by the National Council for the Social Studies in 2014. She sponsors the Link Crew to transition freshmen to high school, and she spends her free time with her husband and two young daughters.

About the Author

Laura Matchett

After graduating with an education degree and spending 7 years in an elementary classroom, Laura made the switch to the non-profit world and loves interacting with students, educators and business professionals across the country. She is passionate about all students having access to high quality education and views personal finance education as one way to ‘level the playing field’. When Laura is not locating or creating high quality educational resources, you can find her mountain biking or searching for the best ramen in town!

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