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Our rockstar teacher for May 2023 is Mr. Todd Faranda
SignaturePrep Charter School, Henderson, Nevada.A conversation with Mr. Todd Faranda Why were you called to teach personal finance?
 In my life, I grew up with a great deal of knowledge of business and personal finance from my father. As a   child, my parents owned a small business, and my father dabbled in many different business ventures,   which taught me opportunity, success, and failures
with financial decision-making. In college, I majored in business administration at the Forbes School of   Business University of Arizona. I have been in education for many years in the public school system and   was recruited by my principal to launch a financial literacy program for our school. I have enjoyed being   able to write a curriculum for my school as well as impact hundreds of students each year.

How do you bring personal finance to life in your classroom?
Working at a Title-One school with roughly 80 percent free and reduced lunch makes my job even more important because it allows students to grow. Students can now see that they can take the opportunities that maybe their parents didn’t have and take advantage of opportunities for a better future. Students can integrate this class into their daily lives and apply it to all school subjects.

There are many different ways I bring personal finance to life in my classroom by utilizing resources such as Next Gen Personal Finance, Dave Ramsey Solutions, EVERFI, and FoolProof.The techniques and activities I use to reach all learners are through “real-world” applications such as balancing a check and savings account, using class money to purchase items, resume and cover letter writing, writing business plans, selling items, and also how to speak, shake hands, dress, and act in the business world.

What was your “aha” moment?
We had the Nevada Financial Literacy Conference on Saturday, April 15, 2023. I was able to nominate a few students from Signature Preparatory to participate in a panel to answer questions about what they are learning in financial literacy. One student in particular, Ricky Pacheco, was part of a student discussion panel and wowed our state Financial Literacy consultant Sheila Salehian. Sheila contacted me the following Monday and was so impressed with Ricky’s knowledge and professionalism. This made me so proud as his educator. I also have two people who have been positive influences on my life and teaching career: Dr. Carey Roybal-Benson,  Principal at Signature Prep and Dr. Delilah Rodriguez.

What else do you want us to know?
My charter school is based on character values, so I can be very impactful with my financial literacy program because some families attend my school for the business education element. I have been able to utilize the framework of the Next Gen Personal finance through lesson plans, curriculum mapping, and lessons. Financial literacy is a growing curriculum that allows teachers to think outside the box and be creative with their students.

Through the list of resources above, teachers can piece together much of what is out there and teach students an entire year’s worth of lessons. Financial literacy has allowed me to come to work and have fun with students as they grow because ofthe aspect of being hands-on and creating great relationships through “real world” experiences.

More about Mr. Todd Faranda
Mr. Faranda II has been involved in education and sports for the last 19 years in Southern Nevada. he has a degree in Organizational Management from the Forbes School of Business at Arizona University, and a Master’s Degree from Grand Canyon University in Educational Leadership. He currently teaches Financial Literacy at Signature Preparatory, a K-8 Charter School in Henderson, Nevada, and is the school’s Athletic Director. He has worked at the high school level for 15 of the past 20 years and was Head Baseball coach for much of his career in Southern Nevada. He enjoys working with secondary education students and got into education because of his passion for sports and student growth.

In his spare time, Mr. Faranda enjoys being with his family; his wife of 22 years, Priscilla, and his daughter Bella who is entering high school. He is a  Nevada native and plans to stay in Southern Nevada, as his family has been a part of the community here since the 1960s. Mr. Faranda is the son of an educator and casino host. He enjoys sports, weight lifting, anything Italian, and having fun with his family and friends.