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Brian Johnson is our Teacher Spotlight for June! In this monthly Spotlight, you will find out how Mr. Johnson worked to put Michigan in the real spotlight. Way to go, Brian! Congrats to you and your students for moving financial literacy forward in your school, and beyond.

Name: Mr. Brian Johnson
School: Forest Hills Northern High School, Grand Rapids, MI
Grade levels: 9-12
Subjects: Personal Finance, Intro to Business, Sports Business, Accounting
Years as an educator: 23 years

Jump$tart: “How do you make money matter to your students?”

Mr. Johnson: “Having kids use savings and investing calculators at the beginning of the semester is very powerful. They are able to see the long term impact of regular contributions.  I’m also very honest with the kids about the mistakes that I made when I was their age.  And I made lots of mistakes!”

Jump$tart: “What is the Financial Education Requirement in your state?”

Mr. Johnson: “Recently, I went with three of my students, Jacquelinn Festain, Anya Groce, and Clara Hillary to Lansing, Michigan.  We testified as part of a larger coalition in support of House Bill 5190. This bill would require all high school students in Michigan to have a semester of personal finance as part of their high school graduation requirement.”

(Update: House Bill 5190 passed! Full article here:

Jump$tart: “Explain your calling to teach.”

Mr. Johnson:  “Teaching is a second career for me. After graduating from the University of Nevada with a marketing degree, I started working in retail management. While I was with Best Buy, I was volunteered to teach the Junior Achievement (JA) curriculum in a middle school classroom and I absolutely loved it!  I continued in business for a while and moved from retail, to automotive material management. I continued to volunteer for JA teaching their economics. I finally decided to go back to school in the evenings and weekends for my teaching degree.”

Jump$tart: “What are your go-to resources for teaching?”

Mr. Johnson: “NGPF, Jump$tart Clearinghouse, Investopedia, Investment Education Center, The Stock Market Game, and Insurance Information Institute.”

Jump$tart: “How did the NEC effect your teaching?”

Mr. Johnson: “First, the NEC has provided me the opportunity to build an amazing network of educators and professionals across the country.  I’ve been able to tap into the knowledge of this network so many times over the years.  Secondly, I’ve added new content to existing lessons in my classes. The information from Alicia Rainwater’s generations presentation in 2017 allowed me to better understand my student’s money views. I was also able to add new information to my intro to business marketing lessons. Finally, I’m able to add new material to my classes to keep the content fresh. After this past year’s NEC, I was able to add mini unit on cryptocurrency, NFTs and the Metaverse to my personal finance class.”

Jump$tart: “What are your fun plans for the summer?

Mr. Johnson: “I sell fireworks during the summer.  I hopefully will be able to go to Detroit to see a Tigers game.”

Jump$tart: “Tell us two truths and a lie and will post this to our Teachers Only Facebook Group for our audience to take a guess!”

Mr. Johnson:

  • “I’m not a swimmer, but I coach water polo and swimming.”
  • “I saw fireworks when I met my wife for the first time.”
  • “I have cryptocurrency in my retirement portfolio.”
The National Educator Conference was created just for you! It’s for teachers who work tirelessly, give their best, and want the best for our nation’s students. We curated an experience to celebrate your accomplishments, provide you with up-to-date financial education resources and information, and to say “thank you” for all you do throughout the year.

This convening of teachers in November is a celebration and we’d love to have you there. Scholarship applications are now open. Please apply today by clicking the button below!

We hope to see you there!