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Past Excellence in Teaching Winners

2015 Winners

First Place
Jamie Allen
Algoma Middle-High School (Algoma, WI)

Second Place
Gwen Skoyen
Osseo-Fairchild High School (Osseo, WI)

Third Place
Brent Mansky
Westosha Central High School (Salem, WI)

2014 Winners

First Place
Ann Scharfenberg
New Richmond High School (New Richmond, WI)

Second Place
Patrick Kubeny
Rhinelander High School (Rhinelander, WI)

Third Place
Tim Miller

John Edwards High School (Port Edwards, WI)

2013 Winners

First Place
Staci Sievert & Josh Blau
Seymour High School (Seymour, WI)

Second Place
Kevin Jones
Cudahy High School (Cudahy, WI)

Third Place
Shari Gunderson
Cadott High School (Cadott, WI)

2012 Winners

First Place
Carissa Koehler
St. John the Baptist Catholic School (Jefferson, WI)

Classroom Mini Economy

Carissa Koehler is a third grade teacher at St. John the Baptist Catholic School.  Koehler created and implemented a classroom economy by having each student actively participating in economic principals in a real-world setting. Koehler’s classroom economy unit incorporated many student activities such as balancing credits and debits, prioritizing classroom jobs, designing classroom currency, and writing checks.  Her students earned paychecks, which were cashed at the student run class bank.  During class store time, students also had the opportunity to be vendors of products they created.  Class vendors were responsible for their product supply, pricing, and marketing. 

Second Place
Cory Erlandson
Manitowoc Lincoln High School (Manitowoc, WI)

Paying Students

Cory Erlandson is an Economics teacher at Manitowoc Lincoln High School.  Erlandson has taught Econ for the last 8 years. Inspired by a student who had perfect attendance for 12 years and received nothing for his achievement, Erlandson became focused on making sure class and school incentives generate desired outcomes. While pondering models of "paying" students, he decided to throw out his grading system and replace it with a more real-world scenario in which students are paid for their work, costs are attached to every decision, and income & property are taxed. Students need to earn enough for their preferred grade ($450 for an A!), without succumbing to the temptations of spending available to them each day. In this system entrepreneurs can succeed or fail, robust debates occur about proper uses of class tax revenues, and students can "do whatever they want" if they are willing to pay the price. The results surprised Erlandson: test scores increased, while the instructional hours needed decreased; student engagement and attendance improved dramatically; and class discussions moved from hypothetical to passionate defenses of "my money." Economics has evolved from the Social Studies Department pariah with 1-2 sections per year, to 7-8 sections filled to capacity.


Third Place
Sara Burling & Lisa Kiefer
Menomonee Falls High School (Menomonee Falls, WI)

Preparing Tax Forms

Sara Burling and Lisa Kiefer are teachers at Menomonee Falls Highs School.  Burling & Kiefer’s students in the business education course learned about taxes and how to prepare tax forms (1040EZ & WI-Z).  These students attended training sessions before and after school and completed case studies.  A promotional video was created to inform the general population of the high school about the opportunity to receive free tax preparation.  Alumni CPAs were contacted inviting them to participate in the activity.  One week prior to Tax Day, the Burling & Kiefer went to each study hall and had students sign up for an appointment.  In February the business department set up a tax preparation area in the library.  Burling & Kiefer’s students served as “tax advisers” to the students of the high school.  The students were the clients and came to their appointments with their W2 and 1099 INT forms.  The business students along with the accountants walked the clients through completing their tax return forms.  During a catered lunch, the business students sat with the CPAs and asked them questions regarding their careers and the field of accounting and business. 

2011 Winners

First Place
Joel Chrisler
Sauk Prairie High School (Prairie du Sac, WI)

Peer to Peer Financial Literacy
Joel Chrisler teaches Consumer Economics at Sauk Prairie High School in Prairie du Sac, WI.  After being handed the Consumer Economics course to teach, Chrisler realized that he had the opportunity to really change his students’ lives. Chrisler implemented a Peer to Peer Financial Literacy program, which includes his High School students presenting to the elementary schools in his district. Focusing on the 1st and 4th grades, Chrisler decided that his students would teach lessons focusing on “Needs and Wants to the first grade and “Savings and Earnings” for the fourth grade.  Chrisler’s students went through the presentation of the lessons they were going to teach, the discussion of the lessons and brainstorming on some of the questions that may arise.  His 32 volunteer students taught 10 lesson presentations to 14 different first and fourth grade classes in 4 days.

Second Place
Donna Gundrum
Rossman Elementary School (Hartford, WI)

Gundrum Money
Donna Gundrum is a first grade teacher at Rossman School in Hartford. Gundrum introduced this four phase economics project to her students in the third quarter of her students’ school year.  Gundrum introduced the students to basic economic concepts of needs/ wants/ goods / services through a variety of teaching methods; the biggest being hands on learning. The children were able to choose a job status card each day, thus learning the difference between a high paying job and a low paying job. They were able to earn interest on their wages as well as spend their wages in a variety of ways.  The final phase had the students planning, setting up and running a factory.  The students learned what it took to work cooperatively and problem solve. 

Third Place
Kevin Jones
Cudahy High School (Cudahy, WI)

Musical Money Management
Kevin Jones teaches Personal Finance and Business Education at Cudahy High School.  Jones created a project that combines the students’ interest in music with information they are expected to learn in Personal Finance.  Students select a song that literally or symbolically expresses their viewpoint on money management.  They then type an essay that communicates their perspective on money management, and how their perspective corresponds to their song.  The students bring in their song (on a CD, iPod, etc.), and part of the song is played in class, where they discuss why they chose that song.

2010 Winners

First Place
Renae Burley
Christ King School (Wauwatosa, WI)

Math Smarts: Life Budget
Renae Burley teaches middle school math at Christ King School in Wauwatosa, Wis. Through Burley’s “Math Smarts: Life Budget” project, students examined their personal spending and saving habits over a 10-week period. Throughout the simulation, students encounter real- life situations that required them to make financial decisions and develop financial goals. Students also were required to factor into their budgets money spent outside of school on entertainment and leisure activities, as well as the cost of meals provided by their parents. Second Place
LaDonna Marie Leazer
Business and Economics Academy of Milwaukee (Milwaukee, WI)

Click ‘Em Photography Studio
LaDonna Marie Leazer is a 5 th-grade teacher at the Business & Economics Academy of Milwaukee. Leazer helped her students develop entrepreneurial skills through the launch of Click ‘Em, a student-run professional photo studio. To become Click ‘Em associates, interested students were required to complete a money management training session. Once accepted into the program, local photographers then trained and mentored the students in the art of photography and day - to-day business operations, preparing them to work in the Click ‘Em studio. Third Place
Erich Utrie
Jefferson Middle School (Jefferson, WI)    
           
Dream City
Erich Utrie teaches economics and civics at Jefferson Middle School in Jefferson, Wis. Utrie created “Dream City,” an integrated economics and civics project that offered students a hands-on approach to learning about complex issues such as taxation, how cities formulate budgets, and the intricacies of managing limited resources in light of conflicting needs and wants. Students used a computer program to create a simulated city. They determined which buildings and infrastructure should be included based on the needs and wants of the citizens, all while staying within the city budget.

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2009 Winners

1st Place
Marc Stanke
Brookfield Central High School

Walmart Town Hall Project
Marc Stanke teaches AP micro and macroeconomics at Brookfield Central High School. Marc's Walmart Town Hall Project is a hands-on and interactive investigation into the impact of large discount retailers' presence on our economy. Students participate in a mock town hall meeting where they discuss the impact that Walmart would have on their community. The project takes a student-centered and creative approach to learn about opposing views on economic development.
 
2nd Place
Ann Scharfenberg
New Richmond High School

Do What You Do Best and Trade for the Rest
Ann E. Scharfenberg teaches economics at New Richmond High School. Ann created a simulation entitled Do What You Do Best and Trade for the Rest to help students experience why people trade and how people that trade could be better off. The simulation provides students with a better understanding of comparative advantage, specialization, and the requirement to prepare for a changing work world.
 
3rd Place
Brett Killion
Luxemburg-Casco High School

Your Financial Future
Brett Killion teaches Personal Finance at Luxemburg-Casco High School. Brett created Your Financial Future , a ten week simulation that exposes students to how their financial future may appear as they enter the adult world of work. Throughout the simulation, students encounter real life situations that require them to make financial decisions and develop financial goals.

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2008 Junior Division

First Place
Tim Hopfensperger
Tullar Elementary School, Neenah, WI

Tim Hopfensperger is a fifth grade teacher at Tullar Elementary School in Neenah. His project incorporates group work, a hands-on ‘Bartering Bingo' activity and children's literature to help teach students learn why and how people trade.
Second Place
Sue Strutz
Jack Young Middle School Baraboo, WI

Sue Strutz is a seventh grade Family and Consumer Education teacher at Jack Young Middle School in Baraboo. Her cross curricular ‘Stitch'n T-Birds' project requires students to create a business and manage all aspects of it, including production of and marketing of goods.

Third Place
LaDonna Marie Leazer
Business and Economics Academy of Milwaukee

LaDonna Marie Leazer is a fifth grade teacher at the Business and Economics Academy of Milwaukee. Leazer created the board game ‘Econopoly'. Students participate in a simulation utilizing realistic life experiences in order to gain an understanding of economic principles.

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2008 Senior Division

First Place
Jill Hughes
Menomonee Falls High School

|Jill Hughes is a business education teacher at Menomonee Falls High School. In her interactive project ‘Reality Check', students are given a career, salary, and a family situation and learn what it takes to live off of their income for one month.

Second Place
Kristen McDaniel
Fort Atkinson High School

Kristen McDaniel is an economics teacher at Fort Atkinson High School. McDainel's students select an entrepreneur in an underdeveloped country and loan money to him or her through the Kiva.org website. Students learn lessons in entrepreneurship and international economics as they track the entrepreneur's success through email updates.  
Third Place
Stan Diedrich
Hilbert High School, Hilbert WI

Stan Diedrich is an economics teacher at Hilbert High School. Diedrich created the ‘Economics Game' which requires students to make choices regarding personal finance and investing in an attempt to accumulate the greatest amount of wealth.

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2007 Elementary Division

First Place
Shannon Camlek
Altoona Middle School, Altoona, WI

Shannon Camlek teaches sixth grade social studies/ancient history at Altoona Middle School . Her project entitled, “ Gainers and Losers-Making Connections ,” gives students the opportunity to connect their learning of history, geography, and economics through a simulation of a stock market game. Students manage their own fictional $1,000 portfolio of three stocks and serve as stockbrokers for school staff (including janitors, cooks, teachers, and administrators). Shannon also invites community members from various fields to share their success stories with students in a Lunch and Learn activity.

Second Place
Scott Behnke
Kettle Moraine Middle School, Dousman, W I

Scott Behnke is a seventh grade business teacher at Kettle Moraine Middle School . His project is a twelve-week financial literacy exploratory course entitled “ Money U. ” Scott's four main goals are for students to (1) develop early career awareness, (2) learn basic financial literacy concepts, (3) understand the role of an entrepreneur, and (4) demonstrate the skills necessary for employability. These goals are achieved through many different instructional techniques, including classroom reading, writing, and math skills, as well as parent activities, business community guest speakers, and a class field trip. For their final class project, students could choose to create a personal budget for a career they have analyzed or write a business report on a company of their choice.

Third Place
Randall P. Bergman
St. Croix Central Middle School, Hammond, WI

Randall P. Bergman is a seventh grade mathematics teacher at St. Croix Central Middle School . He developed a six-week “Financial Literacy Exploratory Course.” His main goal is to help students achieve a sense of personal responsibility and global awareness, while improving their critical thinking skills. The course is divided into six units that are aligned with Wisconsin 's eleven middle school economics standards. As the final activity for the course, students work in cooperative groups to complete a business project for their own virtual company.

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2007 Secondary Division

First Place
Julie Woletz
Cambridge High School, Cambridge, WI

Julie Woletz is a business education teacher at Cambridge High School . Her entry entitled, “ Buying a Home/Renting an Apartment, ” is one of the units from her personal finance course. Students can take the course in a face-to-face or online format. Julie has students discuss the pros and cons of home ownership and renting, and then they complete several hands-on activities, including living with a roommate, buying insurance, and creating a budget. The final unit activity is a field trip to a local rental property where an area realtor gives the students a tour of the property and answers any questions the students have. The students must fill out a rental application for the property they visited and complete a journal explaining what they learned from this experience.

Second Place
Marc Stanke
Brookfield Central High School, Brookfield, WI

Marc Stanke teaches AP micro and macroeconomics to twelfth graders at Brookfield Central High School . His project, “ The Famous Economist Celebration,” is a concluding activity/assessment after a unit on economic history. Each student must select a famous economist, do research on the economist's background and significant theories, dress to look like their economist, and bring a treat to illustrate the economist's most famous contributions to economic theory. During the 90-minute celebration, students mingle and introduce themselves, take notes on at least eight of their fellow economists, and for extra credit, can engage others in debates about their economic ideas.

Third Place
Ann Scharfenberg
New Richmond High School, New Richmond, WI

Ann Scharfenberg is an economics and social studies teacher at New Richmond High School . She developed and implemented her project entitled, “ Life is Not a Game, ” after participating in the 2006 NCEE Study Tour to Russia . Ann wanted to illustrate for her students the frustration and confusion felt by the Russian people when their country began its transition toward capitalism. This card game demonstrates the challenges and opportunities for people in transition economies where the “rules of the game” are not clear to everyone and also keep changing. After playing the game, Ann's students were much more interested in understanding the American economic system and its impact on the global economy.

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2006 Elementary Division

First Place
Jennifer R. Guenther
Saylesville School, Rubicon, WI

Jennifer R. Guenther is a second grade teacher at Saylesville School in the Rubicon Joint 6 School District. Her project entitled “ Personal Finance Skills in Second Grade ,” focused on the basic principles of earning, spending, and saving. Jennifer integrated these principles across four subject areas: mathematics, literature, education for employment, and technology. She also used seventh grade students as “money mentors” for her second graders.

Second Place
Renae MacCudden
Lincoln Elementary School , Wauwatosa , WI
Renae MacCudden is a fifth grade teacher at Lincoln Elementary School in the Wauwatosa School District . Her project was entitled, “ Business Barons .” Renae's students created their own businesses and determined how to produce, price, advertise, and provide customer service for their products.

Third Place
Brian Markwald
The University School of Milwaukee , Milwaukee, WI

Brian Markwald is a seventh grade Economics and History teacher at The University School of Milwaukee. His course entitled “ An Introduction to Basic Economic Principles and Personal Finance ,” contains seven units that focus on key economic concepts. Brian uses a variety of activities, case studies, and field trips to get students involved and interested in Economics and Personal Finance.

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2006 Senior Division

First Place
Kenneth L. Ripp
Eau Claire Memorial High School, Eau Claire, WI

Kenneth L. Ripp is an Economics teacher at Eau Claire Memorial High School . His entry was entitled “ Active Macro Economics: Students and Teachers Constructing an Understanding of the Big Picture. ” Ripp's project illustrates how macro concepts and financial literacy can be taught in unison, complementing each other.

Second Place
Stephen A. Sayles
Clara Mohammed School , Milwaukee , WI

Stephen A. Sayles is a retired business owner who teaches a Financial Literacy course at Clara Mohammed School . His project was part of the Introduction to Entrepreneurship elective course. Students used Clara's New Bronzeville Café, a real coffee shop, as their “Learning Laboratory.”

Third Place
Bruce Rottman
Brookfield Academy, Brookfield , WI

Bruce Rottman is an Economics teacher at Brookfield Academy . His project was entitled, “Real World Economics Mysteries.” Students worked collaboratively to solve a new economics mystery each month.

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2005 Secondary Division

First Place
Daniel Akin
Marshfield Middle School, Marshfield, WI

Daniel Akin is an 8th grade Business teacher at Marshfield Middle School. His Personal Finance Unit for all eighth grade students contains three major components: (1) Career Research Report, (2)Money Assignment, and (3) Spending Plan. The first step requires students to choose a career and write a research paper based on library and Internet sources. Points of emphasis in the Money Assignments component are interest compounding, the time value of money, and "Paying Ourselves First." The largest component of the project is preparing a Spending Plan, based on the Career Research Report. This activity involves many "real life" decisions, such as renting an apartment vs. buying a home. Students are asked to talk to their parents about other expenses, including utility costs, food expenses, and car insurance/car maintenance costs. Ultimately, they need to develop a Spending Plan that does not exceed their net income (and includes at least 5% for savings). Students take a real interest in this project because it gives them first-hand knowledge of how career choice, education, and job skills affect a person's income. They also learn to identify the benefits and costs of spending alternatives and other financial decisions.


Second Place
David Rupnow
Kettle Moraine High School, Wales, WI

David Rupnow is a high school Economics teacher at Kettle Moraine high School. His entry, "Using Economic Reasoning to Study Citizenship Issues," involves students writing formal essays on pertinent economic topics. Examples of recent essay questions include: How should the Social Security program be reformed? and Should the U.S. government raise the minimum wage? Students use newspapers, magazines, and web sites to find background information on the topics. The assignments stimulate debate on these economic issues before and after the essays are written. Students learn to use sound economic reasoning to examine possible solutions for these issues. This essay writing project also improves students' critical thinking skills and helps them better understand economic principles and concepts.


Third Place
Jason Smogoleski
John Muir Middle School, Wausau, WI

Jason Smogoleski is an 8th grade Mathematics teacher at John Muir Middle School. His "Game of Life" project opens students' eyes to "real world" choices and the decisions hey will need to make after high school. Initially, students discuss basic economic concepts, such as opportunity cost and limited resources, which will help them make informed decisions. During the game, students choose a career, establish family group (single or married with children), decide to rent or buy a home, purchase a vehicle, and determine other monthly expenses. All family expenses must be budgeted and recorded, so they don't exceed a family's net income for the month. By having students take responsibility for a family's welfare, they learn many important life skills. They also gain a better understanding of the importance of making wise financial decisions and getting a good education.

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2005 Junior Division

First Place
Adrianne Schindhelm
St. John Nepomucene School, Little Chute, WI

Adrianne Schindhelm is a 6th grade Mathematics teacher at St. John Nepomucene School. Her entry included two major projects (a Checkbook Project and a Mini-Society Project that her students completed during the year. The Checkbook Project was done online. Students were required to select a job and keep track of their income and spending activities over a three-week period. From this project, students gained a better understanding of how banks operate and became more interested in how they spend their money. The Mini-Society Project requires students to establish their own society, create a government, print money, and open their own businesses. The project culminated with a Parent Night. Parents, other teachers, and visitors from Belarus, could see what businesses the students had selected and purchase some of the students' products. This project definitely gave the students first-hand knowledge of business practices and what it takes to start your own business. It also improved their problem-solving skills and their sense of responsibility.

Second Place
Carol Mucha,
Electa Quinnney Elementary School, Kaukauna, WI

Carol Mucha is a Cognitive Disabilities teacher at Electa Quinnney Elementary School. The project was entitled, "Adapting Mini-Society to Teach Economics to Students with Cognitive Disabilities." Her 5th grade students created their own Mini-Society, the Funky Monkeys. They elected officials (General Manager, Treasurer, and Monkey Guards), created their own currency, set up individual businesses, and sold their products to classmates. Students learned many valuable lessons from participating in this project. On the Economics side, they acquired a better understanding of scarcity, the need to distribute resources in different ways, and the benefits of earning money to purchase products you want. From a personal perspective, these students gained a great deal of self-confidence. They also discovered their specific strengths and talents and how to share them with other people.


Third Place
Jacalyn Cebertowicz and Kay Reppen
Meadowview Elementary School, Oak Creek, WI

Jacalyn Cebertowicz and Kay Reppen are 5th grade teachers at Meadowview Elementary School. These teachers implemented the "Tri-City National Bank Adopt-A-Classrom Project" with two classes of 5th grade students at the school. The teachers arranged for representatives from Tri-City National Bank to visit their classrooms and make presentations to the students. They also provided students with background information to prepare and enhance the Tri-City presentations. The four main topics were: (1) setting up a checking account; (2) investments; (3) loans and credit reports; (4) careers in banking & professionalism. Student acquired valuable first-hand knowledge of financial operations and day-to-day banking activities. They also developed their problem solving and decision making skills. After the careers in banking & professionalism presentation, students created a resume and professional portfolio. These were reviewed by the Tri-City representatives and the top 3-4 students received job interviews in the classroom.

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