Peggy Woodard, a teacher at Hidden Hills Elementary in Phoenix, has received the Arizona Council on Economic Education’s 2020 Economic Education Teacher of the Year Award.
She and Jaime Leverington, a teacher at Red Mountain High School in Mesa, were recognized for their outstanding work in educating Arizona youths about economics and personal finance, according to a press release.
Noting how tools like the Stock Market Game, a virtual investment challenge hosted by the ACEE in Arizona, add realism to classroom instruction, Ms. Woodard said she cannot think of a better way to teach math and financial literacy skills to her students by using real-life, daily experiences of the stock market, influenced by worldwide social and economic conditions.
Part of Ms. Woodard’s acceptance speech below:
“Tonight is undeniably the most exciting and fulfilling night in my teaching career. I can’t think of any teacher that chooses to go into this career thinking they will achieve fame or glory - they choose it because they care about children and want to set them up for a successful future," Ms. Woodard said.
She added how children should develop their financial literacy so they are confident in their investments, and themselves as future entrepreneurs.
"My students love the Stock Market Game, and I love hearing their parents tell me about the incredible conversations that happen between the kids and them, or even between the kids and their grandparents! The lessons may begin at school, but the learning continues at home in ways that I never even imagined. ACEE gives them that opportunity and experience,” Ms. Woodard said.
In addition to student programs like the Stock Market Game, ACEE regularly provides teacher workshops and development courses to help educators engage with students and develop lessons that promote financial literacy, the release said.
The award-winning teachers were celebrated during ACEE’s seventh annual Champions in Education gala on Nov. 5, which was held online via Zoom to allow for social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The event was attended by Arizona State Treasurer Kimberly Yee; Fox 10 News anchor Kari Lake kicked off the event with opening remarks; and speakers from Thunderbirds Charities, Northern Arizona University and Fiesta Bowl also voiced their support for economic education in the community.
Champions in Education also featured a keynote speech by Professor Mike Munger of Duke University, and a silent auction and raffle that helped ACEE raise over $100,000 towards ACEE’s mission of reaching and teaching every Arizona student to become financially and economically responsible in work and life.
“We are very grateful to our award-winning teachers for their tremendous work in empowering our youth with economic knowledge,” said ACEE President/CEO Elena Zee in a prepared statement.
“Financial literacy is a core life skill for anyone who wants to succeed in today’s society. It is an investment that lasts a life time! We are very grateful for the continued support from our community as we annually prepare more than 100,000 impoverished students with the financial and economic skills to have a better life in the future.”
To learn more about how ACEE supports Arizona’s teachers: https://www.azecon.org/teacher-programs