Name: Barbara Angelicola-Manzolli
School: Lewis S. Mills High School, Burlington, CT
Grade levels: 9-12
Subjects: Business Organization & Management (Honors), Personal Finance, Career Readiness and MS Office
Making Money Matter
This is Barbara’s 19th year at LSM! She says her passion for teaching grew from her students and to this day still receives emails, text messages, Facebook posts and more, about what life lessons they remember from her. Some important quotes she is known for are: “No one is going to care about your money the way you do” and “Never pay an ATM fee if you aren’t near your bank, go buy a pack of gum and get cash back!” Barbara was the FBLA advisor for 10 years, having students at the National Leadership Conference nine of those ten years!
Financial Education Requirement
Last year, Barbara’s school district made Personal Finance a graduation requirement starting with the Class of 2023. “It was a long time coming as there were many conversations discussing this through the years,” Barbara says. “The big final push came from our students – our principal meets in small groups with all the seniors and many of them expressed how much they learned and why they thought everyone should take it. He realized it was a great time to move this forward! To say I am excited about this is an understatement as this is what I have been working towards for over 10 years!” Barbara says.
Called to Teach
Barbara grew up in a family who owned businesses. Her grandparents owned bread bakeries and her father owned a paving company. She believes her parents are part of the greatest generation and were never rich. “They knew how to make a dollar go far and they taught us to save and be wise when spending. These philosophies are what I want to teach my students – I don’t care if they are going into the trades, college or the service, they all need to know the basics of money management. Wealth means different things to different people, but we all need to know how to manage the money we have – make it grow, save it, spend it and share it, says Barbara.”
In high school, teaching seemed to be what she wanted to pursue, but at the time many discouraged her from this, so she went into business – receiving an AS degree and Bachelors in Business with a specialization in Human Resources. “I had a great career, but the most enjoyable parts were the classes I taught. After some soul searching and life changes I became a teacher – it was the best move I ever made. I joke that I make less money, but have much more fun. Calling it rewarding only skims the surface. I have been blessed to have students stay in touch. I’ve been to their weddings and for many I am watching their children grow up. I felt their love the most was when one of my sons’ died – without my former and then current students, our school and community, I would not have made it through. I think that was one of the times I realized what a difference I made to them – I am blessed,” says Barbara.
“I have to give a shout out to two groups – Jump$tart and Next Gen Personal Finance. I have been able to attend almost all of the Jump$tart national conventions which is where I discovered Next Gen. The Jump$tart Clearinghouse is a great place to start when you are looking for resources and there is always something new and many choices. Meeting Tim with Next Gen at the national conference was great and his passion for personal finance made perfect sense to me because it is such a passion for me as well. Next Gen has everything from full curriculums, to videos, activities and case studies to just name a few, but by far my favorite is their question of the day. I use it in almost all my classes. I am also a fan of the Federal Reserve banks. Something I draw from every year is our community. I have had many parents through the years come and speak to my classes – one in particular has been coming in to talk stocks for at least 16 years. The SIFMA Foundation sponsors the stock market game that we participate in every year – even had winners in 2018 and 2019! My newest resource is FinLit Finatics, a Facebook group of teachers all over the country helping each other out and sharing resources that they have created,” says Barbara.
Teaching During a Pandemic
“March 13, 2020 is still clear in my mind as the day that all teachers really had to start getting creative. I am very lucky to be in a district that stepped up to the plate and made the best of the situation. I have another teacher in my department and we got together weekly to help each other through it by a lot of trial and error. I knew I was not going to get through all of my curriculum, so I picked the most important parts (not an easy task) and focused on that. Now as we head into the new year, I am happy to be in my room, starting with a hybrid model. If I could tell teachers this one thing it would be, ‘You are doing more than you think and that you are not alone in this.’ “