Tinker Federal Credit Union has named Jones High School Teacher Justin Gerry its Financial Empowerment Teacher of the Year.
Gerry was awarded a $500 prize and a plaque for winning the fourth installment of the credit union's award program. A $500 prize and a plaque also were awarded to Jones High School.
Gerry said many of his students initially think his financial literacy curriculum won't apply to them since they aren't yet adults.
“I enjoy watching them begin making intelligent connections and applying what they know. They definitely leave with more confidence to face the real world when they are more financially literate,” Gerry said.
“It's great to see the lightbulbs going off in their heads when they really grasp important financial concepts,” he said. “For example, we were discussing budgeting and the need to spend less than we earn. One of the students got the point and commented, ‘Mr. Gerry, maybe our politicians need to take your finance class and learn how to properly budget.'”
The contest was designed to acknowledge and reward educators who are making a difference by teaching financial literacy in the classroom. It was open to Oklahoma teachers who teach financial literacy to students in grades 7-12.
Cynthia Campbell, Tinker Federal Credit Union vice president and manager of the Financial Empowerment Program, said the credit union seeks to recognize teachers and school district that are implementing mandated financial literacy teaching “in creative ways.”
“This is the fourth year that TFCU has offered the Financial Empowerment Teacher of the Year award, and the entries keep getting better as we move toward the 2014 due date for full implementation of the 14 areas of instruction mandated in the Passport to Financial Literacy Act of 2007,” Campbell said.
Tinker Federal is the state's largest credit union, with more $2.8 billion in assets and more than 260,000 members.