Economics Educator Awards 2017

Three engaging teachers were recognized at the American Dream Dinner on May 18th. Winners of the Economic Educator Awards for 2017 were praised for their outstanding commitment to economic education. The award ceremony 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 are recognized at the American Dream event.

Nick Anello, Homewood-Flossmoor Community High School

Nick Anello

Nick Anello is a high school economics teacher at Homewood-Flossmoor High School. Nick has been an educator for 9 years and currently teaches College Prep, Advanced Placement, and International Baccalaureate Economics. He holds a master’s degree in curriculum & instruction as well as for general administration.

His passion for teaching economics centers around creating lively discussions about the real world and how it pertains to everyday life. His unrelenting style of teaching allows students to view the world through a different lens that makes learning about economic theories much more enjoyable. He believes that teaching personal finance topics in his class is crucial because it allows students to make mistakes in program simulations. This saves them real money when they graduate and pursue their careers.

This year, he created a budget project for his class that helped students comprehend a hypothetical monthly net income that they might encounter after they graduate college. He personally enjoyed hearing the student’s experiences and their ‘ah-ha’ moments as they completed the project. Early in his career, Econ Illinois helped increase his knowledge base which he continues using to impact the economic education of his students.

The games and awards, in particular, help incentivize his students to have fun with economic concepts! Along with teaching economics classes, Nick also acts as the technology coach for his school and gives lectures at national conferences for economics, social studies, and technology.

Kristine Buckley, St. Gilbert's Catholic School

Kristine Buckley

Kristine Buckley is a junior high school teacher at St. Gilbert’s Catholic School in Grayslake. She has been teaching for 14 years and is currently working on a master’s degree in curriculum development. She began teaching economics and personal finance when she discovered that her students were not aware of basic economic concepts, but wanted to prepare them for future challenges in their careers.

Today, she incorporates many programs that Econ Illinois offers such as The Stock Market Game™ program & InvestWrite. By integrating real-world economics into her teaching, she has helped make past events like the Great Depression and WW II more pertinent to today’s world. She believes that students are growing up in a world where there are no longer many industries that offer pensions. She insists that the best way to ensure that a student will be financially secure is to start saving and investing when they are young.

She credits Econ Illinois for providing dynamic and engaging lessons and materials that have motivated her students to participate in a hands-on learning environment. Just this year, she started utilizing a new resource called Navigate, which helped her class evaluate their educational choices beyond high school and was an eye-opening experience for many of her students. During her free time, Kristine enjoys traveling, gardening, and spending time with her three wonderful children.

Danielle Gladstone, Michelle Obama School of Technology and the Arts

Danielle Gladstone

Danielle Gladstone is an English Teacher at Michelle Obama School of Technology and the Arts. She is a 3rd generation educator and has been teaching for 18 years, most of which is in gifted education. She holds a master’s degree in education administration and reading specialization.

As a teacher in the gifted program, she routinely searches for exciting learning opportunities for her students that expose them to real-world concepts. She goes the extra mile to give her students the exposure they need to experience the world outside of their community. Through her teaching, she empowers them to believe that they have the potential to do whatever it is they wish to pursue later in life.

Upon attending a free Econ Illinois workshop at Governors State University for The Stock Market Game™ program, she knew immediately that the program’s fast-paced and competitive nature was a perfect fit for her students. Since implementing the SMG program, she has seen her students become experts at inquiry, questioning, predicting, cause and effect relationships, and teamwork. She believes it is essential that teachers utilize programs like the SMG because they are a critical component in ensuring that students are prepared to compete with the rest of the world. She believes that it encourages the type of work ethic that any corporation would want to hire. Moreover, she credits the program for allowing her students to see that they are capable of competing with anyone, regardless of their hardships.

Danielle resides in the south suburbs with her seven-year-old son and two dogs. In addition to teaching, she also coaches high school softball and has future aspirations of developing and designing curriculum for programs.