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Teacher of the Year Award

This award honors a current Kentucky teacher in grades K-12 who demonstrates an exceptional commitment to teaching financial literacy topics and motivating students to learn about personal finance. The nominee must not have received this award in the last 5 years. The grand prize includes paid registration for the current-year LifeFundamental$ Financial Literacy Summit and $250 that can be used for financial literacy classroom materials or to attend additional training, such as the national Jump$tart teacher conference.

Past Teachers of the Year

This award was first offered in 2010. Thanks to our generous partners, some years we were able to offer multiple fully-funded awards. Kentucky Jump$tart recognizes the following as outstanding financial literacy teachers:


Michael Florimonte, Campbell County High School, Alexandria
A co-worker nominated Mr. Florimonte for motivating and engaging students by helping them to make real-world connections they can personalize into their own lives. One way he did this is by guiding students in the operation of the Camel Bank and Camel Spirit Store at Campbell County High School. Florimonte also utilized guest speakers, Individual Learning Plans, and The Stock Market Game (his team won first place in Spring 2015) to reinforce financial concepts taught in his classes and to help students make connections to their own lives.


Dana Kelly, Central High School, Louisville
Ms. Kelly used a variety of strategies to make financial literacy lessons relevant to the individual student. She used classroom lessons that have real life exmples along with DECA activities, and has received additional awards for her work.


David Sandlin, Walton-Verona High School, Walton
Mr. Sandlin was nominated by a fellow teacher, who noted that his compassion and sincerity, as well as his student-driven focus, make him outstanding as an educator. Sandlin developed the curriculum outline for a personal finance course at Walton-Verona High School, and because of his efforts, that course is a graduation requirement for all students in that school. He also utilizes guest speakers and field trips to emphasize the real-world connections to finance that he teaches in class.


Amy McDowell, Murray High School, Murray
Ms. McDowell was nominated by Principal Teresa Speed and honored for results/measurements/evaluation. Through 2011, her students had an 87 percent pass rate on the Kentucky Skills Standards Test in Financial Services. Four of her students scored in the top 20 percent on the national Financial Capability Challenge. And over the years, her students have placed at regional and state levels of FBLA in finance-related areas and have qualified for nationals. McDowell uses a variety of teaching methods to obtain these results. She also operates the school bank and invites speakers from local financial institutions to visit her class. Starting in the 2012-13 school year, her students can earn three hours of college credit by taking her high school course that will count as ECO 190 – Consumer Economics/Personal Finance for Murray State University. The school already has a dual credit agreement in place with West Kentucky Community and Technical College.

Ann Gowen-Castner, Richardsville Elementary School, Bowling Green
Ms. Gowen-Castner was honored for her approaches to teaching personal finance and economics to third-graders. By turning her classroom into a simulated community, her students not only learn the value of money, but also can see how their actions make a difference in the lives of others.

Rosemary Jones, Bell County High School, Pineville
Ms. Jones was honored for motivating students. She takes the time to ask her students what they would like to learn about in class, then works to incorporate those requests into her lessons. She also uses real-world scenarios to relate the financial lessons to her students’ lives, and uses current news events to further illustrate those lessons. Jones invites banking and talent search professionals to present career options to her students, who then choose a “career” for the school year based upon their skills and interests. They receive a “salary” which they must budget to cover their monthly living expenses such as paying rent or making a car payment.


Kristy Burberry, Menifee County High School, Frenchburg
In addition to her classroom lessons on financial topics, Ms. Burberry coordinates a student-run school bank that shows all students – K-12 – the importance of saving money and how interest is earned. The school bank is open to all students and staff on the K-12 campus, and is sponsored by Traditional Bank. With the sponsor bank’s assistance, high school students go through an interview process to be “hired” to positions within the bank. Students go through orientation, and then actually run the bank, for example making deposits and withdrawals and evaluating students’ loan applications to see if they are a good credit risk.

Kelly Scheuher, Hopkinsville High School, Hopkinsville
In the previous school year, Ms. Scheuher was a first-year teacher who turned ideas into hands-on activities for the classroom. For example, students used newspapers to search for jobs and to explain what types of skills and education were needed. Students also created a budget, including comparing and contrasting two local apartments. In other activities, students looked up songs with lyrics dealing with money and played games to review what they had learned. In her second year, she continued to teach Money Skills, as well as incorporating personal finance lessons into her other classes.

Amanda Comstock, Bullitt East High School, Mt. Washington
In addition to lesson plans that include real-world examples of good and bad financial choices, Ms. Comstock invites a number of community members and education professionals to present to her students. Guest speakers have covered a variety of topics, such as: an investment broker discussing how the market works, a human resources manager covering resumes and interview techniques, and an IRS agent reviewing tax forms. She also has invited educators such as a marketing teacher, school counselor and representatives from post-secondary schools to discuss college and scholarships.


Jennifer R. Allen, Madison Southern High School, Berea
Ms. Allen was nominated by another educator who praised her ability to make instruction relevant to the individual student. She uses a variety of strategies to teach financial literacy, including classroom lessons, FBLA activities, the School Bank and the School Store.

Sandy Maxted, Assumption High School, Louisville
Ms. Maxted was nominated by another educator who noted that personal finance is Ms. Maxted’s passion. The selection committee was impressed with her commitment to the importance of teaching personal finance, especially her quest to make it a graduation requirement the all-girls school in Louisville. She uses a variety of methods to incorporate personal finance in her lessons, including hands-on activities, guest speakers and computer simulations.