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FED 2014 Honorees

2014 Financial Educator Day Award Honorees

The NFEC is proud to present our 2014 Financial Educator Day Award recipients. Below is the full list of honorees by state as well as the nominator’s synapse regarding the honoree’s contribution to the financial literacy movement.



Michael C. Sy

Penny Southward


Arthur Hussey


Angel McCoy

Angel contributes to the financial literacy movement by providing one-on-one financial literacy sessions of 60-90 minutes to 30 extremely low income adults a year. Homeless students have received help for housing. Angel teaches them basic financial literacy to sustain housing and successfully manage their money.


Gregg Murset

As the Founder & CEO of My Job Chart, Gregg Murset uses his expertise as a certified financial planner, father of six and entrepreneur to push the issue of financial literacy throughout the U.S. Over the past year, Murset has completed more than 200 interviews, as well as met with members of Congress and leaders from Fortune 500 companies to discuss the long-lasting effects of our children lacking a basic understanding of financial matters. Murset has also finished writing a book to encourage kids to become entrepreneurs.

Rick Roman


Anna Jackson

Elisabeth Donati

Elisabeth Donati’s creation, The Money Game, teaches financial principles that last a lifetime. She also educates teachers on how to best reach kids by making a topic that most people don’t like talking about fun and interesting.

Jimmie T. Simpson II

Mr. Simpson educates low-income populations of San Pedro, Harbor City, Harbor Gateway, and Wilmington, California on financial literacy. Topics include the basics of banking and savings, fraud and identity theft, and how people should protect themselves. The curriculum is sponsored through the FDIC and Wells Fargo.

Tony Steuer

Tony Steuer, CLU, LA, CPFFE is a recognized authority on life, disability, and long-term care insurance. Steuer is also a member of the California Department of Insurance’s Curriculum Board and the National Financial Educators Council’s Curriculum Advisory Board.

Valerie Deane Williamson

Valerie Williamson is the author of “Personal Finance for Young Adults”, a student workbook that is aligned with the national standards for financial literacy. Approved work by the Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy (National site) and is linked to the California Department of Education’s website under “Grades K-12 Financial Literacy Resources”.


Gary Jackel

Gary has spent 30 years in personal finance, corporate finance, and international telecommunications, including a stint as the CFO of a publicly-traded company.  He returned to school to get a teaching certificate in Secondary Education so he could follow his passion for teaching and promoting financial literacy. He conducted comprehensive research on teaching personal finance, compiling this research in a book titled Teaching Personal Financial Education. This work presents research and articles by leading academics with specialized knowledge of instructional strategies for personal finance. Learn the methods and pedagogies of teaching money management lesson plans to effectively encourage financially sustainable behavior.


Steven Alexander

Steven Alexander has over 27 years of financial experience working in different capacities with major financial institutions, including Bank of America Private Wealth Management, Wachovia Trust Nonprofit and Philanthropic Services, Bank of New York/Mellon, and TIAA/CREF Wealth Management. He embraced the importance of financial literacy education early in his career by obtaining his Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation in 1990. In 2009, Alexander changed his focus and began dedicating his career to promoting financial literacy, which he believes allows individuals to become financially independent.


Deborah Wright


Katherine Marin (Lopez-Huertas)

Real$ense is a local United Way initiative in which I participate by teaching financial literacy and awareness workshops. Through our volunteer efforts, we have made a significant impact in our North East local community. We teach workshops on basic concepts such as creating an effective spending plan and the ins and outs of dealing with credit. I feel very proud to be apart of this wonderful financial education effort.


Kwei Tassi Mensah

Mr. Joshua Mensah is the Executive Director of the Young Investors Network. YIN is a nonprofit, volunteer organization with a firm commitment in educating the young and vulnerable on financial literacy, in Ghana and beyond. I believe Mr. Mensah has a positive impact within his community.

Niya D. Motin

As a K-12 educator, I volunteer with a local non-profit agency to teach personal finance lessons to local elementary, middle, and high school students. As an advocate for financial education and a teacher, I recognize the time restraints educators face in the classroom. With limited time, we find it difficult to teach personal finance in depth; often this critical subject is skimmed during an economics segment of the Social Studies Unit.

Alison Morain


Saydee Pojas

I met Ms. Pojas at the Keiki Fest in May of 2013. She knows our area, for she is a product of our community. After meeting her and explaining my financial situation, she went out of her way to educate me on programs helpful to myself and my family. She also aided me in filing documents necessary for acceptance, helping me dot the I’s and cross all the T’s. She also kept in contact with us during this process. If everyone who went to see her took advantage of what she has to offer, they wouldn’t fall into financial hardship. She will also guide you to other programs if those where she works aren’t funded in the area or if funds have been exhausted. She works with high risk families. I am a product of the Waianae coast. In the recent years, I have been ashamed of where I reside and where I am from due to the failing community. However, Ms. Pojas is a rare gem in this community. I know there are other people like her, but they don’t handle the people from this community on a daily basis. She lives within our community and tries her best to help all who are willing to receive the help that her non-profit employer provides.

Saydee Pojas is a Certified Financial Education Instructor and serves the Waianae community through free financial education workshops provided to the general public. Ms. Pojas also participates in guest speaking engagements in partnership with various community organizations, and provides general financial education via a blog. Saydee provides all of these services on her free time and through the kindness of her heart. She just completed her Masters degree in Organizational Change while working full-time, and is a mother to a 6-year-old boy with another baby due this May. Her goal in 2014 is to form a non-profit organization that will provide more financial education, literacy and awareness in her community and throughout the state.


David Walters


Alfred Asena Kabwoya
Mr. Kabwoya provides education and funding to the financial literacy movement to ensure sustainability and awareness at all levels and to all individuals.

Ramesh Kumar Adhikari

Olairivani Elirehema

Rogatus Innocent Mbogoro

Goutam Bibhuprasad Sahu


Janet Henryson

Janet Henryson started the Center for Financial Education (CFE) 15 years ago out of her home. The CFE helps families and individuals who are in need of financial assistance in their personal lives. The CFE is a non profit that offers ALL of their services for FREE!


Carl Brewer          

Dorothy Brown        

Kathy Clark  

Kenya Cox            

Joell Dickerson  

Jaya Escobar      

Ron Estes              

Mike Gonzales      

Kirk Haskins          

D. Elizabeth Kiss        

Jim Means          

Josh Ney          

Shannon Stone      

Chris Walmagott  

Stan Webb

Lavonta Williams  

Jeff Witherspoon

Gigi Wolf      



Brett Shifrin     


Patricia A Ludwig

Patricia Ludwig speaks on financial planning days at schools and helps at the church. She works with parents to teach kids about money basics. She really is passionate about financial education!


Barbara Carbone

Carole Martyn

Brockton, MA has been offering the Credit for Life Youth Financial Education Fair continuously since 2001, and Carole Martyn has been a leader since 2003. The Fair has won national recognition, and thanks to Carole has spread across the nation to an estimate of over 500 venues. The Massachusetts State Treasurer’s Office advocates that every public high school in the state host a Fair, and with Carole’s help, has posted a ToolKit to guide facilitators.

Christopher Moriarty


Barbara Rupley


Patricia Harris

I volunteer my time teaching financial literacy to nonprofits, church groups, youth and other avenues year-round.


Connie Horton Lambert

Connie Lambert implements financial literacy across the curriculum with her special population students. She has received the Mississippi Council on Economic Education Best Practices Award four times and has been named the Senator Thad Cochran Mississippi Teacher of the Year twice. She has won numerous awards for lesson plans implementing economic concepts across the curriculum. She has also presented lesson plans and teaching techniques in professional development for organizations including the Mississippi Council on Economic Education, the Federal Reserve Bank (Memphis) and the Mississippi Extension Service. She has organized student teams for the Stock Market Game and Fed Challenge. She is currently working with a team of students that will present ways to avoid investment fraud and scams to senior citizens.


Vicky Mcdonald       

Vicki Mcdonald is very active in campaigning financial literacy awareness throughout the state of Montana. She is spearheading a four year High School Finance Academy for the Missoula County Public Schools (MCPS). The Academy launch date is set for the 2015-16 school year. Vicki is a member of the MCPS K-12 Social Studies Curriculum Revision Committee and implements financial literacy into the curriculum. She is also on the MCPS Facilities Strategic Planning Committee, identifying the needs and space for a Finance Academy. She recently spoke before the Montana Office of Instruction and Montana Educators Board, collaborating with State Representative T. Jacobson to advocate that financial literacy be a mandatory unit for state high school graduates. This resulted in an additional meeting that will be scheduled to identify how and when this may be implemented. In the last couple of years, Ms. Mcdonald has spoken on the importance of financial literacy awareness and education to organizations such as the Rotary, Kiwanis, and the Missoula Business Women’s Network. In addition, she is actively conducting financial literacy workshops and seminars throughout Missoula and the surrounding areas. She is Montana’s Ambassador of Financial Literacy.

New Jersey

Tina Dhar

Nina Iwaszczenko

Eileen Lesko-Eckert

Eileen Lesko-Eckert teaches personal finance to junior students, modeling the importance of strong financial awareness.

Alex Nevarez

I am a Site Director for a Before Care/After Care program at Gillette School. In my Before Care class, I teach kindergartners and 1st graders about money. Everyone gets a piggy bank. We start at the Penny and work up to the stock market. The students learn the different coins, their values, how to make change, The US Mint, ATM’s, short/long term savings goals, etc. When we get to credit cards, all my kids get a pretend credit card which they sign their name on the back, just like a real one. At the end of each lesson I pay them with play money that makes them learn to identify and count coins, and change them into dollars. At the end of the week they can either save their money in their piggy banks or use it to buy something from my store. If they want, they can even use the credit card to buy something. If they do, they get a bill at end of month, and we take the money from their piggy bank. When we get to the stock market, they all get a kid-friendly stock to track. They all keep a chart of their stock where they write the price, and I ask them if that price is more or less than the day before. They also learn that if the price for the day is higher than what we started at that we made money, and if it is less then we started at, we lost money.

New Mexico

Cherie K. Gilsdorf

Cherie K. Gilsdorf has taught High School seniors in a full-year course in Financial Literacy for almost two years now. And while her students have a textbook, their study goes beyond it into multiple projects throughout the year. These include the Stock Market Game; Finding Your First Job; Career Paths – Plans A,B & C, which includes applying for FAFSA; Furnishings and Financing for Your First Apartment; and Finding & Budgeting for Your Own Apartment. Developing these additional projects and doing the research for the resources for her students has been challenging, but rewarding. Ms. Gilsdorf is preparing the next generation for individual financial stability.


Anthony McTaggart

Anthony McTaggart is the co-founder of Andson, a nonprofit organization that aspires to provide social mobility and lifelong behavioral changes through innovative lessons on personal finance. Mr. McTaggart is the creator of Andson Money; a series of programming that targets K-12 students with relevant, in-class financial literacy lessons and homework exercises that encourage parental involvement. Anthony teaches classes within the Clark County School District throughout the school year, and also designs 100% of the curriculum based on the standards established by the Jump$tart Coalition.

Ray Shreder

Mr. Shreder has developed a free financial education website that provides consumers with the information, tools and services necessary to make better financial decisions and achieve personal financial empowerment.

New York

Charles & Randy Fisher     

The Hip-Hop Summit Youth Council (“HHSYC”) was founded by in July of 2001. The organization was created to help implement the commitments, guidelines and policies made by record companies, artists, community leaders and elected officials at the 2001 Hip-Hop Summit held at the Hilton Hotel in New York. After attending the historic and successful “closed door” event and sitting on its Youth Panel, Charles felt a genuine need to establish an advocacy group that would work towards meeting Hip-Hop’s most important challenges. These are to improve the image and unity within the Hip-Hop culture, as well as to show our participants how to constructively use their time, talent and the Hip-Hop culture to improve social, political and economic conditions in their school, home and community.

Lorie A. L. Nicholas, Ph.D.

The nominee is passionate about making a difference in the financial life of others. As a result of a personal financial experience, she utilizes the stress and emotional struggles she endured to fuel her passion and educate others so that they can make the best financial decisions and be equipped with the financial education they need to make those decisions. Prior to becoming certified, Dr. Nicholas volunteered as a Loan Ranger at Habitat For Humanity, in which she provided financial education about credit and debt. Dr. Nicholas continues to bring awareness to the area of financial education in her conversations with her students and family. She has also provided workshops and written articles on Financial Stress and helping people deal with stress as they work to resolve debt. Dr. Nicholas is very, very passionate about her work because of the emotional impact of her financial situation, as well as the financial struggles she continues to see others endure. Her goal is to ensure that families have the financial education needed to make the best decisions for themselves and their families.

LaDonna Smith

LaDonna Smith is the author of the children’s picture book, The Money Tree. The Money Tree explains basic financial concepts and practices in plain and easy to understand language that children can comprehend and use in their day-to-day lives. The clear text and playful illustrations aim to simplify financial concepts like earning, saving, interest, the difference between needs and wants, and the joy of running one’s own business. To make the otherwise boring topic interesting, the concepts have been explained through small anecdotes accompanied with colorful illustrations to stimulate children and ignite a love of saving. Along with the release of the book, LaDonna recently launched a program called S.T.A.R.T. (Savings Today and Riches Tomorrow), where she has partnered up with both schools and banks in an effort to provide students in grades K-5 with high-energy and interactive workshops. During workshops, students assume a new identity with a career, family, and financial responsibilities. Students will work independently and in small groups to make choices about spending and saving. Students will experience budgeting, decision making, and have the opportunity to make wise financial choices or not. Our workshop will help students better understand the importance of good money habits. As LaDonna tours and introduces her book The Money Tree, and present her workshop, she hopes to educate youth from all walks of life on how to find their path to financial empowerment.

North Carolina

Gewreka Robertson

Ms Robertson is speaks at financial literacy workshops and conferences, as well as facilitating classes to help people become more financial literate.

Dr. Manderline Scales

Dr. Manderline Scales annually plans an Economic Development Workshop for the Winston-Salem Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. for persons of all ages. Dr. Scales connects with the Winston-Salem Urban League for weekly seminars on preparing to enter or re-enter the workplace.


Lawrence C. Haley Jr.     


Joyce Montgomery

Joyce Montgomery served as an Oklahoma Jump$tart Committee member and former President for eight years. She served on the Oklahoma Council on Economic Education for six years, was a member of the Executive Commitee for two years and a general member. She is currently a Friend of the Council. Ms Montgomery taught financial literacy through non-profit agency, high school, and university programs. She is the Site Supervisor for AmeriCorps financial literacy students – Oklahoma Money Matters – Presented at National Council of Economic Educators, NYCity, Reviewer of Grants for NEE, member of GATE and NAEE. She attended a legislative hearing to promote financial literacy for Oklahomans, taught financial literacy for independent development asset grant requirements for the Native American population and for exiting AmeriCorps service providers. She met with business retirees for consulting and development of financial literacy programs for target populations. She hosted/sponsored/participated in events for educational awareness (College Goal Sunday, Earth Week, JumpStart Your Money Week, Day at the Capitol, Lights on Stillwater, Student Union Actvities Mart, Service Fairs). She created an award for college student advocates and educators of financial literacy at the local university.


Dr. Leslie Grace

My biggest success is seeing and hearing how people take ownership over their lives and where they want to go based on the information delivered to them. It’s a privilege and an honor to help people learn about their financial capabilities, economic concepts and language, money-making strategies, and wealth building techniques to stay in the black. I try and help them understand that wealth is the state of needing nothing and a sense of wholeness mentally, spiritually, physically and financially. Their success empowers my success.

Norma J. Groover

Norma Groover has over 25 years of professional banking experience and volunteers time to educate K-12, college students, and young and mature adults. She engages through camps and youth groups, college tours and student events, community organizations, in the workplace, churches, and schools. She also conducts Train-the-Trainer financial education sessions.

Rhode Island

Jessica Palumbo

Jessica is a colleague of mine at Cranston High School West. She teaches in the business department and works hard to educate our students in the area of financial literacy. She is a very generous person both personally and professionally and is committed to helping all students achieve financial independence. In addition, she goes the extra mile to help her students prepare for their senior presentation. I admire the way she cares about the students as well as people like me at Cranston High School West. She never gets the credit she deserves and it would be so nice for her to be recognized by you.

South Carolina

Karen Jenkins

Karen Jenkins contributes SO much to the community. She educates her audience with not only tried and true, sage, financial practices, but also infuses a healthy, appropriate dose of humor and common sense. Her delivery renders her advice palatable. As is the case with many financial literacy advisers, the audience often has a difficult time “swallowing” the medicine offered as it typically entails some eye opening rude awakenings and bitter pills to swallow. Mrs. Jenkins’ approach, however, makes it easier for audience members to digest the advice she’s giving them… particularly if her advice confirms that the listener has been doing something wrong. She is “everywhere”, from television, to radio, to universities, to offering her time in the community and schools. “Everyone” knows about Mrs. Jenkins, appreciates her breadth of knowledge and loves her kind, willing spirit in the pursuit of helping others actualize success.

South Dakota

Kristi Robinson


Christopher Labadie

Christopher Labadie has traveled the United States and to two foreign countries to teach military servicemembers and veteran families financial literacy skills to ensure our men and women are stable at home. Christopher has set the standard in financial capability training when it comes to those that wear our nations uniform. As a fourth generation Marine himself, he is passionate beyond measure about his brothers’ and sisters’ financial security.

Lorene Collier Purcy

I believe that when we equip young people with the knowledge and skills of money management that they can begin taking control over their personal financial affairs. I partner with youth groups and organizations to present financial literacy training. Youth from all walks of life learn pertinent skills from their beliefs about money to investing their money.

Richard L. Mauldin

Bonita Vinson

Bradley Vinson


Wendy Chatman

I teach students how to develop a spending and savings plan for personal financial management. We evaluate the services offered by financial institutions. Demonstrate the ability to manage an account in a financial institute. I also teach students to differentiate between consumer rights and responsibilities as they relate to the family and community.

John Good

John Ninfo


Amy Samudre    

Molly Morris   

Washington, D.C.

Ikisha Little

Ikisha has designed a financial literacy program for female youth that teaches how to develop the habit of saving with a purpose and a goal in mind. We believe that if girls start saving early, then they will learn how to become savvy spenders. In this program, we empower financially smart young ladies by teaching savvy shopping and saving strategies. The girls will discuss different ways that they can earn money and the strategies that they will use or are using to save, spend, invest, give or share their money. In order to teach the girls how to save, Ikisha has implemented the 52-week program into our outreach program.

Here is how the program works: Each week, the female youth would place $1 into their personal jar, can or savings account and by the end of the year they would have saved at least $52. They will fill in the deposit information on the challenge chart including the date and amount of deposit. This task will teach them how to track their savings, be accountable to themselves, and to stay focused on their savings goal. We strongly believe if donors make a $52 investment into a GIAgirl by donating to this program matching dollar-to-dollar saved by a GIAgirl, it will definitely motivate the participants to save and keep on saving. Our goal is to create wealthy habits now.

Michael Walden

West Virginia

Lorna Young


Amy Crum, Darlene Londo, Keegan O’Brien, Carol VanCamp, Roberta Baker & Luke Hoffman

In 2001, the Appleton Area School District (AASD) and Community First Credit Union (CFCU) partnered to address the need for financial literacy among our students. The result was a Personal Financial Management (PFM) class requirement for graduation, a real-life budgeting simulation, and the creation of student-run credit unions in the district’s three high schools, a middle school and an elementary school. The programs this partnership developed have been modeled, adapted and implemented by other districts throughout our State. The teachers nominated for this recognition have been teaching our Personal Financial Management course since it’s inception and keep it alive and relevant for our students everyday. It is with much respect that I nominate these teachers for the level of financial literacy education they provide each and every day of the school year for our students.

Jayne Black

Jayne Black is a graduate of the Wisconsin Women’s Network Policy Institute where she now works on public policies to strengthen financial security among elderly women in Wisconsin. Jayne is the founder of “Saving Smart for Five Generations”.

Matthew Vandre

As a teacher of personal finance for Francis Investment Counsel, I am part of a team of financial educators delivering custom financial education classes to retirement plan participants at over 65 companies headquartered in the Midwest, with locations across the country. Classes I have taught include retirement planning, budgeting, debt management, estate planning, insurance planning, credit, financial priorities, cracking open the retirement nest egg, and many more. Our team also hosts free Money University events across the state every other year for all participants and their families. I am also our firms liaison and a volunteer financial educator for Make A Difference Wisconsin, providing financial education to high school age students on a broad range of financial literacy topics. I am also a Certified Financial Education Instructor, and I am working my way through a master’s degree of family financial counseling from the University of Alabama. I am also preparing to sit for the Certified Financial Planner exam.