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Who's Who of the NAEE Named Awards

James B. O'Neill (Economic Education Multiplier Award)

In 1972 Jim O’Neill became the first director of the Center for Economic Education and Entrepreneurship at the University of Delaware. As a new director he traveled the state talking with teachers and superintendents to learn what teachers needed to improve the teaching of economics in their schools. He quickly realized that providing content wasn’t enough. To see a lasting impact the Center had to go beyond offering economic courses for educators and providing instructional materials. He felt strongly that teachers need ongoing support if meaningful and lasting change was to take place in Delaware schools. To that end, he created the position of field consultant and was the first in the economic education network to hire an individual whose sole responsibility was to work in the schools demonstrating lessons, coaching teachers and offering grade appropriate workshops.

Jim was a visionary. He was determined to use teachers as change agents who could work with their peers to expand the mission of economic education. In 1981 he established the Masters of Arts in Economics and Entrepreneurship for Educators (MAEEE). The goal was and continues to be to create a cadre of educators trained in content and pedagogy and empowered to teach others, particularly but not limited to other educators. Jim O’Neill firmly believed that to expand economic, personal finance and entrepreneurship education in today’s world required talented educators who could work with their colleagues who in turn would teach their students thus leveraging the impact of the program.

This multiplier effect has had a significant impact. A survey in 2003 found that graduates developed and/or taught a total of 1818 workshops. If a modest number of 10 teachers attended each professional development program and taught one class of 25 students per year, over the course of a 20-year teaching career those teachers could reach over 9 million students. This model continues today serving as a lasting legacy of Jim’s commitment and contribution to economic education.

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Bessie B. Moore (Service Award)

Bessie Grace Boehm Moore was an educator, civic leader, and force of nature, advocating economic education in public schools and many other passions to benefit students and the citizens of Arkansas. At age 14, Bessie passed the teacher’s exam and was hired to teach. Her life frequently centered around a classroom, as teacher or student.

When Bessie B. Moore was put in charge at the newly formed Arkansas Council on Economic Education in 1962, she was almost 60 years old and had earned impressive credentials. But to her many friends and supporters, she was simply known as somebody “who was doing good things for the State of Arkansas.”

Over her lifetime, she served Arkansas as an educator, administrator, innovator, advocate and good-will ambassador. Irresistible and determined, she pursued her causes with legendary persistence and almost always prevailed. As somebody quipped, “It was easier to say ‘yes’ [to her requests] than to keep getting those calls.” Bessie lived a life of service and advocating for the benefit of others.

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Henry H. Villard (Research Award)

Henry Villard was a professor of economics at City University of New York. He was outspoken in the profession's leadership about the importance of quality teaching of economics and the importance of professionally measuring that quality. He also believed that having a professionally reviewed journal that published the results would contribute to the ability of economists interested in economic education to achieve tenured status. To that end, Henry Villard worked with the Joint Council of Economic Education (today the Council for Economic Education) and the American Economic Association’s Committee on Economic Education to establish the Journal of Economic Education (JEE). The JEE was designed for economists and educators concerned with economic education in both the nation’s schools and universities. Henry Villard served as the first editor of the JEE. The inaugural issue was published in the fall of 1969 and continues today as the premier forum for the publication of peer-reviewed, scholarly work in economic education.

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John C. Shramm (Leadership Award)

John C. Schramm was the first Managing Director of the Calvin K. Kazanjian Economics Foundation Inc., founded in 1947. He served in that capacity from 1949 until he retired in 1985. During his tenure the Foundation provided leadership and grant support for many innovative programs that became a mainstay of economic education.

Schramm was instrumental in creating and funding the National Awards Program for Teaching Economics. An annual summary of the winning teacher entries was published in a booklet that became a mainstay of the Council’s publications.

John helped establish the Developmental Economic Education Program (DEEP). Working with the American Economic Association and the Council, the Kazanjian Foundation provided support and leadership for the development of the Master Curriculum Guide and its partner publication the Scope and Sequence for Teaching Economics. John participated and was instrumental in the funding of the first economic education television series for the classroom, Trade-Offs. The Kazanjian Foundation funded a national seminar at MIT, hosted by Robert Solo, where the Master Curriculum Guide was updated, eventually leading to the development of the Voluntary National Standards in Economics. Similarly, the Kazanjian Foundation supported the creation of several nationally normed tests of economic understanding.

Unlike many funders, John Schram was actively involved in the various committees and writing sessions that helped spawn these materials. He was considered a sage advisor and thoughtful co-initiator for many of the projects and programs that served as a foundation for the economic education movement.

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Patricia K. Elder (International Award)

From 1985 until 2008, Patricia K. Elder directed the National Council on Economic Education’s (Council on Economic Education) international program, Economics International. This program was supported primarily by the U.S. Department of Education. However, Elder also secured funding from foundations in the U.S. to support this endeavor. Economics International benefited American councils and centers for economic education by providing funding for local programming on international economic topics, enhancing the learning experiences of educators and students around the world.

Economics International provided valuable educational assistance to teachers in societies transitioning to market economies. It also provided experiences and resources to help American teachers engage their students with lessons about the global economy. Instructional guides provided curriculum on international economic topics for all grade levels.

Elder’s leadership led to the creation of several significant programs, the impact of which is still evident today. She involved leading American economic educators in the development and delivery of these programs.

Economics International Train the Trainers: This signature program provided in-depth training in fundamental economics, microeconomics, macroeconomics, and international trade for professors and secondary educators in more than 20 countries. Those trained went on to conduct a variety of training programs for thousands of elementary and secondary educators in their countries. The multiplier effect of this program was significant.

Economics International Study Tours: This creative program sent American teachers to Russia, former Soviet Republics and South Africa, and brought teachers from these countries to the U.S. These study tours resulted in valuable cultural exchange and understanding that translated to classrooms throughout the world.

Economics International Curriculum Translation: A number of outstanding economic curriculum units were developed and/or translated into Russian, Lithuanian, and other languages. These units included Focus: High School Economics, World Geography, and The Wide World of Trade. This program allowed proven curriculum lessons to be used in classrooms around the world.

Economics International Train the Writers: This innovative program taught international educators how to write active economic curriculum lessons in their own languages that were relevant to their cultures. This resulted in quality publications such as Roosters to Robots , Old MacDonald to Uncle Sam, and From Here to There.

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Abbejean Kehler (Technology Award)

Abbe was a strong advocate for economic education for over 33 years beginning in her undergraduate days. After graduate school Abbe served as a program coordinator in Florida and then became Center and Council Director in Ohio.

She was the recipient of the Joint Council on Economic Education’s University Teaching Award (1989) and the NAEE Bessie B. Moore Service Award (1995). Abbe served on NAEE’s Long Range Planning Committee for a number of years, worked closely with the Ohio Department of Education to develop economic standards, published numerous lessons, and served as co-editor of “Economics for Kids.”

Abbe was a visionary with ideas that were ahead of her time. She was an advocate for women in economic education organizing annual Women in Economics lunches at annual meetings. There were few program coordinators in the network when Abbe took on the roll in Florida. Recognizing the value for those in similar positions to meet and share ideas, she coordinated the first conference for those responsible for program delivery. But, her greatest contribution to the field was her early commitment to the use of technology in the delivery of economic education for teachers and their students. While many in the economic education network were slow to jump on the technology bandwagon and some even failed to see its value, Abbe persevered exposing the network to its endless possibilities.

Abbe’s commitment to the power of digital technology was unwavering. She truly believed that technology could transform education. How right she was! Many of the technology applications economic educators use today had roots in Abbe’s early foray into the field.

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Phil Saunders (Best Economic Education Paper Award)

Phil was recruited by the Economics Department at Indiana University to invigorate the focus on teaching. In that capacity, he personally taught for many years the large introductory undergraduate courses, trained and supervised graduate students to lead breakout sessions and designed tests and survey instruments that produced the data on which his research was based. Throughout Phil’s tenure at Indiana University he focused mainly on economic education research at the college level. Upon Phil’s retirement, the Department of Economics honored him by creating an endowed fellowship in his name that recognizes graduate students who excel in teaching.

Phil’s 1964 paper, “The Effectiveness of ‘The American Economy’ in training secondary school teachers,” was significant in that it appeared in a regular, refereed issue of the American Economic Review (AER) rather than in an un-referred Papers and Proceedings volume or a special supplement to a regular issue of the AER. This article was also the first published article in economic education to employ a multiple regression technique of statistical analysis which later became the standard method employed in subsequent research projects. Phil was most proud of publishing a sole-author scholarly article in the AER focused on teaching.

Phil’s contributions went beyond research. He was a member of the American Economic Association’s Committee on Economic Education. He served the Joint Council on Economic Education in numerous capacities including the development of Trade-offs, a film/TV series for elementary students, principal author of The Framework for Teaching Basic Economic Concepts, and development of the Test of Understanding of College Economics. A large percentage of second generation economic educators that followed those who founded the movement were taught economics and introduced to economic education by Phil at two institutes held at Carnegie Mellon University in the mid-1960s. Many of these individuals went on to get masters and PhDs in economics and served as directors of centers for economic education.

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