A Special Edition of Teacher Spotlight

Honoring the 2023 Jump$tart Chairmen’s Scholarship Recipients


This month’s special edition of Teacher Spotlight features not one, but four amazing educators, who recently received scholarships to attend the 2023 Jump$tart National Educator Conference, scheduled for November 4 – 6 in Arizona. Presented on the last day of the 2022 conference by the prior recipients, these four special scholarships honor each of the Jump$tart Coalition’s previous national Board Chairs. Recipients, selected by Jump$tart, demonstrate the unique leadership qualities of each past Chair.

H. Randy Lively, Jr. Pioneer Award 
James Meadows, Gretna High School, Gretna VA

The H. Randy Lively scholarship recognizes Jump$tart’s first Chairman, Randy Lively, who was a co-founder of the Jump$tart Coalition and recognized as a “pioneer” in the financial literacy field. This scholarship is awarded to teachers with adventurous, innovative spirits who are forging new ground in bringing financial education to life for their students.

For James Meadows, a business teacher from Gretna, VA, that new ground was entering the classroom after his early career as a newspaper reporter. Though he once considered teaching English, this son of a 45-year-career bank teller ended up teaching business and finance related courses, where he inspires his students with his personal stories and things he heard from his mom. His commitment to real-life financial literacy and his vast involvement in his school and his students is what makes him a model educator.

Neil Milner New Ideas Award 
Brian Johnson, Forest Hills Northern High School, Grand Rapids, MI

The Neil Milner Award honors Jump$tart’s second Chairman, whose term lasted only three short years, but was marked by an era of fresh approaches and new ideas. The Jump$tart National Educator Conference was conceived and launched under Neil’s leadership, with a good deal of his personal involvement. The scholarship in Neil’s honor is awarded to teachers who think outside the box and will never be satisfied in doing things the way they’ve always been done.

Sharing Neil’s forward thinking – not to mention his sense of humor and commitment to fun – is this year’s recipient, Brian Johnson from Forest Hills Northern High School in Grand Rapids, MI. With teaching as his second career, Brian brings real-world experience to his classroom, as well as his passion for new resources and financial apps, to share with his Gen Z students. His innovative approach equips his students with the critical thinking and practical skills they will need to navigate their financial futures.

Ted Beck Effective Educator Award 
Jill Thompson, Kelly Walsh High School, Casper, Wyoming

Ted Beck’s time as Jump$tart’s Chair, as well as his leadership of the National Endowment for Financial Education, was driven by his desire to make evidence-based decisions in striving to improve financial education. The Ted Beck Scholarship goes to teachers who are conducting or utilizing research and analysis to improve education in their own classrooms or for the greater good.

Jill Thompson is a business teacher in Casper, WY, working to improve financial education, not only for her own students, but others as well. To make sure her financial education is making a difference, Jill’s students have the opportunity to be “certified financially literate” by W!SE, a Jump$tart national partner.  W!SE, in turn, named Kelly Walsh High School one of the top 100 schools teaching personal finance. Jill’s commitment led her to advocate for her personal finance elective to become a required one-credit course that all KWHS students must now take.

Michael Staten Inclusive Educator Award 
Sabrina Taylor, Nichols Junior High School, Arlington, TX

With the launch of Check Your School and the Jump$tart Financial Inclusion Initiative, Dr. Mike Staten’s term as Jump$tart Chair was marked by a renewed commitment to growth and inclusiveness. The Mike Staten Scholarship goes to teachers who are expanding the reach and strengthening the impact of financial education to students who need it most.

At Dubuski Career High School in Grand Prairie, TX, during the COVID-19 pandemic, Sabrina Taylor uploaded videos of herself teaching each lesson, which included guided practice; but she also made sure non-English speaking students could access the translation option to hear the lesson in their native language. Now at Nichols Junior High School, Sabrina continues her efforts to end what she calls “generational brokeness,” extending the benefits not only to her students, but their families as well.

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“I’ve had the great privilege of having worked with every one of Jump$tart’s past chairs – dynamic leaders who each brought their own unique talents and perspectives to our organization – and it is a fitting tribute to award scholarships to four outstanding teachers, who embody their spirit and share their commitment to excellence” said Laura Levine, president and CEO of the Jump$tart Coalition. “On behalf of the Jump$tart team and leadership, I congratulate James, Brian, Jill, and Sabrina – and the many students fortunate enough to benefit from the knowledge and commitment these amazing educators have to offer.”

The Jump$tart National Educator Conference is an annual event that brings together teachers from across the country who teach personal finance at the elementary, middle, or high school levels. With generous support from Charles Schwab, the Jackson Charitable Foundation, the Wells Fargo Foundation, Experian, and many others, all teachers attend the conference on scholarship.  Recipients of the Chairmen’s Scholarships also serve as event ambassadors.

Scholarship applications for 2023 will open in April. For all things NEC please visit here.