Position: MBEA Board of Directors, Secretary
School: Mansfield High School, Mansfield, MA
Job Title: Business & Technology teacher
Grade Levels: high school
Courses Taught: currently – Entrepreneurship, Personal Finance, previously – Marketing, Google Applications, Career Theory, HTML Webpage Design, Computer Applications I & II, Desktop Publishing, Research Skills For The 21st Century
Why and/or how did you become a business educator?
Immediately after college, I began working in the financial software industry. I wore many hats, including roles in customer support, business development, training, quality control testing, and consulting. As I consulted more and more, I was able to book more training sessions with my clients. I really enjoyed teaching my clients how to use our software. After seven years in the world of software, I decided to change careers so that I could teach all day long! As the daughter of two public school teachers (now retired), I kept my decision a secret until I passed the required MTEL exams and received my teaching license. My parents were shocked, but were very supportive of my decision. The joke was that I had finally gone into the “family business.” My first teaching job was actually as a middle school math teacher . . . in the same department and school as my father! I loved teaching math, especially as my father’s colleague, but felt that I could bring a lot more to a business classroom given my background in industry. After that year, I changed subjects and grade levels. I came to Mansfield High School and the rest is history! I’m currently in my twelfth year.
What is something unique that you do in your classroom?
A few years ago, I decided to shake up the way I taught Entrepreneurship. Creating a business plan that would likely not be brought to fruition was too abstract for many of my students. I wanted a more authentic learning experience for them. I won a grant to provide my students with seed money to run an actual small business in my class. Students pitched small business ideas to each other, just like Shark Tank, and then voted on a single project to carry forward. Students banded together to design products, select vendors, create a marketing plan, and serve as the sales force. When the sales end, students review their accounting position using financial statements. Students then donate their proceeds to a local charity and make microloans to aspiring entrepreneurs around the world via Kiva.org. To date, my students have donated over $8,275 to local charities and have made microloans to entrepreneurs in 16 different countries (details here)! The seed money rolls forward from semester to semester, perpetuating the project for my future entrepreneurship students.
What are you passionate about in business education?
I have so many passions and try to meld them together as much as possible! I love entrepreneurship, financial literacy, technology, STEM, and social media. I do my best to give my students as much exposure to all of these areas of study. I infuse technology in meaningful ways into all of my lessons. My students participate in “STEM Challenge Days” to learn more about how STEM and business are closely tied together. I volunteer my time with several organizations within Massachusetts and beyond to help promote the importance of financial literacy. Every student should have access to financial literacy education before leaving school. As I always tell my students, “You will all have money at some point in life. It could be $50 or $1M. My goal is to help you get the most out of that money by making wise decisions. That’s why I’m here.”
What are your top 3 “tried and true” business education resources?
I have so many that it’s hard to limit it to 3, so I’m going to be sneaky and do 3 “types” ?
- Curriculum: Knowledge Matters simulations, NextGen PF everything!, NEFE, Take Charge Today, EconEssentials
- Professional Organizations: Being a part of professional organizations has been essential to my career growth. I have been able to network, learn best practices from colleagues, and connect with curriculum providers.
- MBEA / NBEA – These are the premier associations for business educators at the state and national level. I’m excited to be presenting at the national conference this March, both a technology workshop and a concurrent session!
- MassCUE / ISTE – Similarly, these are the premier associations for instructional technology at the state and national level. Both have done so much for me professionally in the world of technology! I have made so many connections and have grown so much as an educator through MassCUE. I was so committed to MassCUE that I pursued a seat on the board of directors. I was appointed to their board of directors and was then later elected treasurer, a position I still hold.
- #busedu Twitter Chat – A great way to connect with other business educators and grow your own PLN. To learn more, visit the #busedu website!
I am a very crafty person! I love to make things, whether it’s sewing, crocheting, baking, cooking, or some other random craft that catches my eye. My great-grandmother, grandmother, and mother are 100% Italian and taught me well when I was young. I started knitting and crocheting when I was four. I hardly ever keep anything that I make though. I give lots of homemade gifts and donate a lot of my items to various charities and causes. For example, I made 20 hats this summer while recovering from my broken ankle and surgery. I donated the hats to the Oklahoma State Department of Health’s “Period of PURPLE Crying” campaign after reading an article about it.