School: Wachusett Regional High School, Holden, MA
Job Title: Business teacher, DECA advisor
Grade Levels: high school
Courses Taught: Marketing, Personal Finance, Keyboarding, Marketing II
Why and/or how did you become a business educator?
After graduating from SMU (now UMass Dartmouth) I was working at State Street Bank as a portfolio accountant for about 5 years and found the work to be really tedious and repetitive. I was looking to do something more challenging and wanted to get a little more excitement in my life. I had thought about teaching when I was younger but didn’t do anything about it until my wife, Ruth, who was a teacher, encouraged me to give it a try. So in 1986 I decided to go back to school at Salem State to get certified to teach Business. I had a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing so I had a lot of the core courses required, so it only took me a year and a half, attending school part-time, to achieve my certification. I also received much of my inspiration to teach from my high school teacher, friend, and mentor Bob Fisher, a former Business teacher and basketball coach at Rockland High School. He was a great teacher and coach and always had such a great rapport with kids from all walks of life. His demeanor, patience, humor, and drive are what I draw from as a teacher and coach today.
What is something unique that you do in your classroom?
An authentic learning activity I find rewarding to teach in my Marketing classes is creating a Promotional Calendar for the “Wachu Wearhouse”, our school store. Students are divided up into groups of four. They are assigned a three month period, for example January – March, and must develop twelve promotions for this time period. They are required to use the five types of promotion (advertising, direct marketing, personal selling, public relations, and sales promotion). They usually try to create some promotions that are associated with special days like Valentines Day or with a school event such as Homecoming. They then create a large poster or use Google Slides to display their top four promotions for the assigned time period. Lastly, they present their ideas to the class. Students vote on the best ideas. Most years I would choose some of these ideas and implement them at the Wachu Wearhouse. The students always have at least one great idea that is a big hit with the student body and proves to be successful when implemented. The final result allows students to create a meaningful, useful, shared outcome.
What are you passionate about in business education?
Lately, it has been the push to teach Personal Finance. The importance of teaching financial literacy skills at this age (and younger) is an important one for the educational community. We owe it to our students to prepare them for the future and to help them learn how to manage their money and become more knowledgeable about credit, investing, budgeting, careers, insurance and the costs of college. At Wachusett, Personal Finance was dropped from the curriculum 15 years ago but was finally revived due to a determined effort led by my colleague Carole Jeffcoat.
I’ve always been passionate about making my Marketing class one that every student will want to take before they graduate. I try to make my classes engaging, challenging, fun and current. I incorporate technology whenever possible and continue to research and utilize all the different types of social media that are being used in marketing today.
What are your top 3 “tried and true” business education resources?
- Next Generation Personal Finance (NGPF) is really on the cutting edge when it comes to business resources. From short 2-3 minute videos that are catalogued for your convenience, questions of the day that are always great “do nows” at the beginning of class, to links to great activities and articles, they continue to develop new resources for every possible financial category. They even have resources that I will be using in my Marketing classes this year.
- The National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE) High School Financial Planning Program resources are great and are what I use as the main component of my Personal Finance class. They are designed so that each activity encourages discussion and involvement by the students so that sharing becomes more natural. Every student may be different but they all have to deal with many financial decisions in their lives. It’s a great way for the students to learn about these issues and to hear other stories like theirs.
- Jeff McCauley, the founder of the Marketing Teacher, has provided excellent materials over the years for my Marketing classes. I have used the activities and projects in Best Practices, Volumes 1, 2 and 3 consistently to make my lessons more relevant and engaging for my students. The group activities in these materials are outstanding.
If you could create your dream business education course, what would it be?
We will find out next year as I will be teaching a new course called Sports & Entertainment Marketing! I have been trying to get this course started over the years but never had the resources to actually do it. I have incorporated SEM activities into my Marketing II classes so I have been able to gauge the interest for some time now. Most students love the topics we discuss and are more engaged, interested, and attentive. That’s the goal!
Tell us something about you that we wouldn’t learn from your resume.
I’ve recently started playing the ukulele and have teamed up with my older brother to make some very amateur videos of songs we have always loved. It’s a blast learning new songs and chords and attempting to sing as well. I am a basketball nut and finally stopped playing competitively last year. I’ve coached a little bit over the years as well, once taking a JV boys basketball team from Cairo to the Persian Gulf for a tournament in Kuwait. I’m currently a volunteer coach for the Girls Tennis team at Wachusett. I’m also a proud parent of two kids, my daughter Michela, 27, and son Aidan, age 22.