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Financial Education for Everyone

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Advisory Council

The Educators Advisory Council is a talented and diverse group of leading educators at the forefront of promoting financial literacy. The Council advises Visa on the content and direction for the Practical Money Skills for Life program.

Jim Charkins, Ph.D.

Executive Director of the California Council on Economic Education (CCEE) and Professor of Economics at California State University, San Bernardino

"I think it starts with basic skills first. When kids don't know math, when they don't know critical thinking, when they're having trouble reading, they're not going to make good financial decisions because they don't have the information to make good financial decisions. If we can get those basic thinking survival skills down, then children are much more likely to make wise financial decisions."

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Dr. Jim Charkins has taught at the University of Nairobi in Kenya, the Florida State University, Purdue University, and CSUSB. During the summer, he serves on the faculty of the Foundation for Teaching Economics. He was the Economics editorv of The Wall Street Journal Classroom Edition Teacher's Guide for nine years. He serves on many boards including CCEE, the California Association of School Economics Teachers, the California Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy, and the Los Angeles chapter of the National Association of Business Economists. He received his Ph.D. in economics from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, in 1970.

Dr. Charkins served on the ten member writing team for Kindergarten through 12th Grade national economics standards, as economics consultant to the California Commission for the Establishment of Academic Content and Performance Standards, and on the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing Content Review Panel for History/Social Science. He also served on the Review Committee for the National Standards for Business Education. He recently served on the committee that recommended revisions to the History/Social Sciences Framework to the California Board of Education. Dr. Charkins has developed economics teaching materials and conducted workshops nationally and internationally for teachers and students from the Kindergarten through doctoral level. He is the author of the MoneyWiseTeen (winner of two international awards for creative marketing), Living the American Dream, the Teacher Guide to the California Economics Standards, and It's Your Choice.

He is a leader in the area of computerized economics instruction, having been awarded two separate grants by the National Science Foundation to equip computer labs for the CSUSB economics department. He has received numerous other grants and awards including the CSU San Bernardino, Social and Behavioral Sciences 2003 Teacher of the Year and 2009 Outstanding Originator of Distributed Learning.

Linda Hawkins

Retired educator and financial literacy materials consultant, Charleston, WV

"Practical Money Skills for Life is the closest program I've ever seen to “being all things for all people”; besides being multimedia, it is one of the few that starts at preschool working with the parents and follows the students all the way through high school graduation to their first taste of independence."

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As the West Virginia State Treasurer's Director for School Financial Education Programs, Linda Hawkins led efforts to implement a statewide elementary Bank at School program and the secondary reality program, Get A Life. She developed, marketed and taught graduate credit financial literacy training workshops at West Virginia, Marshall and Concord Universities that served over 3,200 elementary and secondary teachers, and bankers.

Formerly a secondary school teacher, Ms. Hawkins was also the Director of Research, Grants Writing and Continuing Education for the College of West Virginia; wherein, she initiated, implemented and managed $4 million in cost-reimbursable U.S. Department of Energy Research projects, and $1.3 million in West Virginia State Job Training Partnership Act contracts.

Hawkins is currently teaching workshops nationwide that focus on obtaining and implementing free, high-quality financial literacy materials.

Linda's father was a US Naval Officer and she lived in several port cities while growing up. She started school in San Diego, California, finished high school in Charleston, South Carolina and received her B.S. in Education from Concord University in Athens, WV and a M.A. in Education from Marshall University in Huntington, WV. She and her husband, a retired secondary Coach/P.E./Health teacher, have two grown children.

Sheila Miller

Teacher, Bristol, NH

"Practical Money Skills for Life provides my students with the tools they will need to be responsible, informed consumers. As teenagers, students want to be independent and make decisions on their own and this curriculum gives them up-to-date, relevant information in an engaging manner. Financial Football, the Practical Money Series with Jean Chatzky and the many other free resources allow students to learn about topics that they are interested in and/or are faced with in their lives."

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As a teacher at Newfound Regional High School in Bristol, NH, Sheila Miller has made it her mission to bring money management skills to students. In addition to classroom teaching, she discusses the issue with parents, colleagues and anyone who will listen and is currently working on convincing the powers-that-be that financial literacy should be a graduation requirement. In 2006 Mrs. Miller was presented with the NH JumpStart Teacher Award in recognition of her commitment to the teaching of financial literacy.

Born in West Stewartstown, a small New Hampshire town on the Canadian border, Mrs. Miller received her B.S. in Business Education from Plymouth State College and is certified to teach both Business Education and Computer Science. She currently resides in Bristol with her husband and two children.

Sharon Reddel Pierce

FCCLA State Advisor for Texas Association, Austin, TX

"The educational materials available from Visa are excellent. Practical Money Skills for Life provides students the opportunity to learn about money management, consumer economics and learn to apply valuable skills into real life situations. These materials are valuable when working with teenagers and family and consumer science teachers and providing great resources for the classrooms."

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Sharon Reddell Pierce has been State Advisor of the Texas Association, Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) for 30 years. Twenty three of those years, she was also a Program Specialist for Family and Consumer Sciences Education at the Texas Education Agency (TEA). She taught high school family and consumer sciences classes prior to joining the agency staff. While at TEA, the staff worked to identify the essential knowledge and skills for Family and Consumer Sciences and adopt textbooks that contained the required curriculum. Management of the youth organization (FCCLA) assisted students focus on being productive family members, wage earners and community leaders.

While working with FCCLA she has helped implement consumer economics programs in the local schools and align those with the required curriculum. She has worked with various groups including the JumpStart Coalition, Visa, National Association, Family, Career and Community Leaders of America, and with the Lifesmarts Program, all which promote sound educational experiences on financial education. In addition, FCCLA provides peer education and leadership training to middle and senior high school students in various areas related to money management ,as well as, other issues that the teens feel are important; such as alcohol poisoning, school violence, distracted driving for teens, obesity, career readiness, service learning and teen leadership.

Sharon received her undergraduate degree from Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas and her Master's degree from Texas A & M University in College Station, Texas. She lives in Austin, Texas with her husband. They have three sons.

Chauncey Veatch

National Teacher of the Year, Coachella Valley, CA

"We use the Visa Practical Money Skills Program in my high school Economics classes for a variety of purposes. We use it to work with family and personal budgets. We use it to understand the intricacies of the global economy. They are easily aligned to our state standards. They also serve as a potent supplement to our work with our ELL (English Language Learners) students".

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During a White House Rose Garden ceremony, on April 24, 2002, Chauncey Veatch was named National Teacher of the Year. Previously, he had been named California, Riverside County, Coachella Valley U.S.D., Coachella Valley High School, Bilingual Education and Migrant Education Teacher of the Year.

Veatch became a teacher in 1995 at the end of his active duty service in the United States Army. He first taught seventh and eighth grade science, mathematics, English, reading, writing, social studies, physical education, and ESL (English as a second language). In the evening Adult Education Program he also taught citizenship test preparation and English classes. In 1999 Veatch began teaching in the Social Studies and Vocational Technical Education Departments at Coachella Valley High School. He specifically requests that non-English speaking students, students with special needs, students with learning disabilities, pregnant teens, and students involved with gangs or drugs be placed in his classes. Since 2003 Veatch also teaches Pre-K, primary, and elementary school students in Head Start and reading intervention programs.

As the College Board's International Visiting Scholar Veatch travels as a distinguished lecturer with published works on globalization, diversity, and access to post-secondary education. He also serves on Visa USA's Educator Advisory Council and as a consultant for its financial literacy programs. He is an author and academic advisor in the development of students' critical language and reading skills for Scholastic's Zip Zoom English, Read 180, and RED programs. These are technology-based K-12 programs for school administrators, reading coaches, and teachers.

Veatch was recently named International Ambassador for Education by La Prensa Hispana. He is active in the Troops to Teachers Program, the PTA's National Outreach program to African-American, Hispanic-American, and Native-American students. In addition to teaching in his district, Veatch is developing the International Student Leadership Academy as a teacher on assignment to the California Governor's Office and the Riverside County Office of Education. Veatch also served on the Federal Task Force on Homelessness and Severe Mental Illness, the National Advisory Council on Drug and Alcohol Abuse, and the Blue Ribbon Commission on the Year of Languages.

Veatch earned his Bachelor's degree from the University of the Pacific, a Juris Doctorate from the University of Notre Dame, and teaching credential from Chapman University. He is also a graduate of the United States Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.