Feature a Teacher: Talitha Oliveri

Each month we feature one of our most dedicated and innovative business education teachers in the MBEA. Please contact Jacqueline Prester with your suggestions of an outstanding teacher to be featured here in a future month!

Name: Talitha Oliveri ( @t_oliveri LinkedIn | website | email )

SchoolHopedale Jr. Sr. High School in Hopedale, MA

Job TitleBusiness Educator

Grade Levels: high school

Courses TaughtAdvanced Marketing, Sports & Entertainment Marketing, Financial Literacy, Career & College Planning, and Financial Algebra

Why and/or how did you become a business educator?

After spending five years in the business world I decided to make a career move into education. Since the fall of 1998, Hopedale Jr. Sr. High School has been my home. Many former students will remember me as their math teacher – for 15 years I taught courses ranging from Pre-Algebra to Precalculus and everything in between. In the fall of 2014, I was looking for a change and took advantage of the opportunity to become the business education teacher at HJSHS.  I put my Marketing degree to use and now reach approximately 90% of juniors and seniors through my Career & College Planning and Financial Literacy courses. Next goal? 100%! Financial Algebra, Sports & Entertainment Marketing, and Entrepreneurship round out the mix. In addition to teaching, I lead Hopedale’s DECA program with over 70 members.

What is something unique that you do in your classroom?

  • Stories – Financial Literacy – make it real: Share, Share, Share.  Sharing my personal history with finances, showing my credit report, discussing expensive x rays not covered by insurance, etc
  • Experiences – In all of my classes, students learn by DOING.  In Sports & Entertainment Marketing we create and implement marketing campaigns for the Drama club.  In Career & College Planning, students go out on Job Shadows or complete Career Interviews.  In Financial Algebra, students compete in the Budget Challenge.
  • Financial Abstraction Lesson- When Money Isn’t Real: $10,000 Experiment  created after watching the TEDx talk by Adam Carroll  with Money Management: Words to Live By Vision Wall
  • Life Happens wall –  Every time new expenses come up, they go on the wall. $150 filling, ssn hacked, $900 car repair, $170 Driver’s Ed, – students started sharing their ‘life happens’ events. 
  • Students teaching students:
    • Financial Literacy Fair (3rd year running the fair – includes all juniors & seniors) & Trainings – held during advisory sessions. (taught how to fill out forms necessary for employment, played Financial Football also!)
    • Finlit Elementary program – Based off of Feed the Pig for Tweens guide by AICPA.  Students went to 5th & 6th grade classes and taught lessons on savings, needs & wants


What are you passionate about in business education?

  • Financial Literacy: I love financial literacy.  I spoke at a Financial Literacy training this past October and mentioned that what I do is probably not so different than what the majority of finlit teachers do.  But if students can SEE the passion, and HEAR the excitement and reasoning, then I feel I am one step closer to setting them on the correct path.  Students WANT to learn about financial literacy. I surveyed students taking my quarter long class and 100% say the course should be a graduation requirement.  80% surveyed would like it to be a semester long, and 60% said they would sign up if it were a year-long course!!
  • DECA: I was a DECA competitor in high school and college.  In 2014 the DECA chapter had 15 members – today it has grown to 70.  The organization gives the students real-world experiences both inside and outside the classroom.  Last year 4 students qualified and competed at the International Career Development Conference in Anaheim, California in the areas of Principles of Finance and a Financial Literacy Promotion Plan.


What are your top 3 “tried and true” business education resources?


If you could create your dream business education course, what would it be?

A semester-long Financial Literacy Bootcamp course that would not only teach students the necessary skills for future financial health but allow time for students to teach younger students AND to teach adults.  Creating a curriculum that results in education for ALL members of the community would be fabulous!!!


Tell us something about you that we wouldn’t learn from your resume.

I grew up in Oregon, in a small logging town.  Believe it or not, I took a required Personal Finance class in the late 80s.  The high school I graduated from is one of the 600 out of 11,000 Gold Standard schools recognized by NextGen Personal Finance for their semester-long, standalone personal finance courses that guarantee 100% of students graduate with exposure to comprehensive financial education!  Looking back,  that class started me on my road to being able to manage my finances and I want to continue to share that knowledge with future generations.     







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