2013 Winners of the 3M Economics Educator Awards

Eight teachers were recognized at the Econ Illinois Economic Education Day Award Luncheon on October 22.  Winners of the 3M Economic Educator Awards for 2013 were lauded for their outstanding commitment to economic education.  The award luncheon, sponsored by 3M, was held at the Union League Club of Chicago and attended by honorees, their guests, Econ Illinois Board members and supporters.

Outstanding Economic Educator Award winners

Criteria for the Outstanding Economic Educator Award: A long-standing commitment to teaching economics in the classroom; promoting economic education in their school and district; continuous involvement in professional development programs and student-based programs enhancing economic education. Teachers receive a plaque, a cash award and participation in a unique professional development seminar. The winner's school receives a grant to promote economic education in the school's curriculum.

Peter Duffer

Peter Duffer, Buffalo Grove High School, Buffalo Grove

Mr. Duffer has been teaching Economics since 1997 and currently teaches AP Economics at Buffalo Grove High School.  He has been described as one who does not seek attention for his extensive accomplishments in the work he does to increase student success by engaging students in their learning. He uses his passion and expertise to improve his instruction and to inspire not only students but staff as well.  

Peter seamlessly engages his students by integrating technology with the teaching of economics.  He has his own website created for students that include links to helpful economic videos, practice AP test questions and summaries of economic topics.  It was Peter’s vision that led to the largest I-Pad initiative in his district. He has integrated the use of technology that is second nature to his students but has gone well beyond just using the I-pad as a glorified notebook or card catalog for research. He has transformed the educational experience and enhanced achievement at the same time.

Peter is regularly involved in professional development and shares what he learns with his colleagues. His Econ Challenge teams qualified for the State Finals in 2009 and 2013. His success is perhaps best captured in the following statements of a former student, who says; “It is because of Mr. Duffer that I now stop to evaluate the marginal cost and marginal benefit of a purchase every time I go shopping - and that I make it a goal to complete all my tasks efficiently. I have decided to double major in neuroscience as well as economics, and I can honestly say that Mr. Duffer and his economics course are the reasons for that. Never have I had a class that is even comparable to the effectiveness of Mr. Duffer’s.  His effort and enthusiasm are unparalleled and frankly, it is quite hard to find a teacher as devoted to his students as he is.”

Patrick Fardy

Patrick Fardy, South High School, Downers Grove 

Mr. Fardy teaches a variety of business courses, including consumer education, introduction to business and entrepreneurship to 9th-12th grade students.  Patrick is skilled at empowering and motivating students to become competent and independent decision makers.  He uses creative techniques and experiences to engage his students in real life learning.  For example, he involved his Introduction to Business class in a friendly cross town competition at a local restaurant.  Students designed and marketed burgers that the public then voted on. Students were able to actually work at the local restaurant that evening as part of the event.  The owner took time to speak with the students in class about the economics of restaurant management and sales.

Patrick sees the advantage of offering real-world problem solving in order to increase the Financial Literacy of his students.  He’s involved his students in the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago’s Euro Challenge Midwest Competition, providing them with the opportunity to learn about the current economic situation in the Euro area.  His team created a 15-minute presentation that thoroughly analyzed the many problems Greece currently faces economically, and then came up with multiple solutions to those problems.  

Patrick has participated in a number of Econ Illinois programs and professional development events since 2003.  He regularly utilizes The Stock Market Game™ program to promote collaboration and leadership while teaching real world skills.  Patrick has been engaging his students through the Personal Finance Challenge since 2009 with teams qualifying for the State Finals in ’09, ’11, and 2012.  

STARS in the Classroom

STARs in the Classroom Award winners

The STARs in the Classroom award recognizes teachers each year who have done an outstanding job of bringing Econ Illinois' signature economic education programs into their classrooms to benefit their students.  The teachers and their students have participated in our Economics Poster Contest, The Stock Market Game program, Personal Finance Challenge and/or Economics Challenge in the past academic year.  They represent schools from around the state.  Shown in the picture (back row) with the STARs in attendance, are Bill Testa, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago; Lori Berkes-Nelson, Econ Illinois; and Mike Stanfield, 3M.

• David Beldon, Minooka Community High School-Central, Minooka
• Danielle Gladstone, Mohawk Intermediate Center, Park Forest
• Ray Kinzie, Hitch Elementary School, Chicago
• Adam Koester, Edwardsville High School, Edwardsville
• Jennifer Rambole, ROE Alternative Program, Zion
• Debra Zeilner, Joseph Gary Elementary School, Chicago