Search Resources

Name: Diane Mondoro

School: Livingston High School, New Jersey

Grade levels: 9-12

Subjects: Introduction to Business, Social Media Marketing, and Personal Financial Literacy

Years as an educator: 11
“I spent my first 2.5 years as a Biology teacher. I had an MBA so a district that needed a business teacher asked me if I’d be willing to take the Business Praxis and make the switch. I did and I haven’t looked back.”

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

Diane: “My introduction to my Personal Finance class begins with, “Who wants to be wealthy some day?” Every hand in the classroom goes up. Every activity and lesson incorporates as many real world documents and scenarios as I can. I always tell students, “No one wakes up in the morning wanting to be in debt or bankrupt.”   Using current events also helps to engage students and allow them to see that what we are learning has real consequences. My students are very interested in apps and investing. I try to gear my lessons towards topics that are of interest to them.”


Jump$tart Staff: “What is the financial education requirement in your state?”

Diane: “NJ requires that financial education be taught in middle school. The high school requirement is more open-ended. Students  are required to take “At least 2.5-credits in financial, economicbusiness, and entrepreneurial literacy.” As you can imagine, there are many courses that fulfill this requirement that do not include financial literacy topics. It’s a law I’d like to see amended in the future.  My school district requires every student to take one of two financial literacy courses.”

Jump$tart Staff: “Can you describe your calling to teach?”

Diane: “After I graduated from Rutgers with my MBA, I was offered a position as an adjunct Marketing professor at Fairleigh Dickinson University. FDU was sponsoring remote MBA classes at various pharmaceutical companies in the area. When my adult students complimented me on my instruction after class, I considered teaching as a career for the first time.  However, I also realized that teaching working adults would be vastly different than teaching at a public school. I applied to be a substitute teacher in my local school district. My philosophy was that if I liked being a substitute, I would like teaching even more. That was certainly the case. When teachers began to specifically request me to cover their classes, I felt as though I had found my calling.”

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

Diane: “My school’s curriculum is based on NGPF.  They are my number one resource;  I love the Fine Print and Move activities.  They also provide some of the best PD available for financial literacy. This one is another favorite resource, especially when I am discussing investments. I’ve also found some great activities on Take Charge Today.  In terms of social media, The FinLit Fanatics community is fantastic for advice on both content and pedagogy.

Jump$tart Staff: “How are you doing during these challenging past two years?”

Diane: “The past two years have been challenging on many fronts. I am so grateful for the community of teachers that I met through NEC and as an NGPF fellow because they are my support system. I learned so many tips for teaching through the pandemic and self-care through those professionals. It has been difficult to keep my own anxiety in check and still be present for my students every day, but that is what teachers do. I incorporated more SEL skills in my classes, which combines very well with Personal Finance.”

Jump$tart Staff: “Tell us about your experience at the NEC.”

Diane: “The NEC rejuvenates me. Every time I come back from the NEC, I share what I learned with my students, both in terms of content and pedagogy. The sessions are inspiring, and the networking is invaluable. The 2021 NEC was one of the most memorable PD experiences of my career. After 18 months of remote PD, being able to connect with my peers was a tremendous boost.”