2014 Winners of the 3M Economics Educator Awards


Seven teachers were recognized at the Econ Illinois Economic Education Day Award Luncheon on October 21.  Winners of the 3M Economic Educator Awards for 2014 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.


Kerry DiFusco, White Eagle Elementary School, Naperville

Kerry has a passion for teaching economics to her students. She has written, developed, and implemented a district-wide curriculum as part of the gifted program, and has extended the program to all students enrolled in grades 1-5 in all the schools in her district. She has been instrumental in developing and piloting local assessments that have helped provide metrics on student achievement, and has been influential in creating a nationwide rubric for the InvestWrite essay contest. Under her supervision, students at Spring Brook Elementary, White Eagle Elementary and Builta Elementary schools participate in the Stock Market Game™ program, engage in-depth research projects, and construct essay submissions for the InvestWrite competition. Her students also participate annually in the Illinois Economic Concepts Poster Contest. When Kerry nurtures and guides students, they rise to the top in competitions. In three of the last five years, one of Kerry's students has won an award at the national level for InvestWrite; in three of the last four years, one of Kerry's students has won a state award for the Poster Contest.

Kerry has been a leader in economic education, not only locally, but nationally as well. She has been active in participating with the SIFMA Foundation as a guest teacher during their national webinars. Kerry is always willing and able to share her expertise to teach teachers across her district, or across the country, about how to use The Stock Market Game and InvestWrite in the classroom. Year after year, students both in her class and nationwide grow in their understanding of the market, investing, and economics as they develop good decision-making skills.


Jessica Weldon, York Community High School, Elmhurst

Jessica stands apart from her peers and is considered a master teacher in economics by her colleagues. She continually strives and succeeds in creating a classroom atmosphere that offers the perfect blend of excellent rapport with demanding expectations. Jessica's teaching is engaging, enthusiastic, relevant, and student-focused and it inspires initiative, intellectual curiosity, a desire to perform well, and of course, a love for economics!

Jessica has built the AP Micro and Macroeconomics programs at York High School into highly successful experiences for students. Running 2-3 sections of each course each year, the school sees her students regularly score averages above a 4 on both AP exams. She has been involved with the development of the economics curriculum within her school and has 10 economic videos on You Tube.com that focus on sharing fundamental economic principles like Supply and Demand. Jessica started the economics club at her high school, which has grown in the past four years from an initial 8 members to 75! The club actively participates in The Stock Market Game™ program. She also engages her students through a variety of real world experiences including holding an economics career fair each year, bringing industry professionals into her classroom to speak with her students, and taking students to hear speakers from the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. Her students also participate in a variety of state wide competitions; last year one team placed 2nd overall in the Illinois Economics Challenge State Finals! Professionally, Jessica is constantly seeking to improve her craft as a teacher for the sake of her students.

STARs in the Classroom Award Winners

Stars in the Classroom

The STARs in the Classroom award recognizes teachers each year who have done an impressive 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: 

  • Doug Banwart, Astoria High School, Astoria
  • John Egan, Providence St. Mel School, Chicago
  • Christine Johnson, Sycamore high School, Sycamore
  • Kaye Kooi, Spring Brook Elementary School, Naperville
  • Valerie Kooy, Memorial Jr High School, Lansing