VCEE Announces the Winner of the J. Curtis Hall Award

Exciting News! We are beyond excited to reveal the outstanding recipient of the 2023 J. Curtis Hall Award:

Congratulations to Judith Sams, Program Specialist at Virginia Department of Education, for her remarkable contributions to economic and financial literacy in The Commonwealth of Virginia!

The announcement was made during a quarterly board meeting held on December 8, 2023.

This prestigious award, named in honor of Dr. J. Curtis Hall, one of the co-founders of Virginia Council on Economic Education, is presented annually to an individual who has demonstrated sustained dedication to enhancing economic education in the state. Dr. Hall’s legacy of four decades on the VCEE Board of Directors has been pivotal in shaping an organization that equips K-12 teachers to adeptly teach economics and personal finance to Virginia’s young minds.

Join us in celebrating Judith Sams and the impactful work being done to empower the next generation with essential economic knowledge!

2023 Economic Educator Awards Winners!

The Virginia Council on Economic Education is pleased to announce the 2023 winners of the Economic Educator Awards:

2023 Virginia Outstanding Economic Educator of the Year:

  • George Mason University Center: Bill Betthauser, –Bishop O’Connell High School | Diocese of Arlington

2023 Regional Awards:

  • Christopher Newport University Center: Alice Stocks – Granby High School, Norfolk Public Schools
  • James Madison University Center: Michelle Hunt – Smithland Elementary, Harrisonburg City Public Schools
  • University of Mary Washington Center: Neeta Tewari – Culpeper County High School, Culpeper County Public Schools
  • University of Lynchburg Center: Darla McGuire – Altavista Combined School, Campbell County Public Schools
  • University of Virginia at Wise Center: Betty Davis – Honaker High School, Russell County Public Schools
  • Virginia Commonwealth University Center: Emily Hardesty – Appomattox Regional Governor’s School
  • Virginia Tech Center: Heather Taylor – Carroll County High School, Carroll County VA Public Schools

2023 Outstanding Lesson, Unit, or Performance-Based Assessment

  • 1st Place: Lauren Markel – Central Office, Rockingham County Public Schools – VA |
    Lesson: “Stick With It”
  • 2nd Place: Ryne Powell – Spotswood High School, Rockingham County Public Schools | Lesson: “The Economics of Legos”
  • 3rd Place: Brittany Coverstone – Pleasant Valley Elementary School, Rockingham County Public Schools | Lesson: “Mali Game: Economic Decision Making”

2023 Outstanding Lesson by an Institute Graduate

  • Cara Walton – Harrisonburg City Public School, Harrisonburg County Public Schools | Lesson: “The Race to Civilization”

Congratulations to all of our winners!

The Virginia Economic Educator Awards recognize educators from around Virginia who have demonstrated excellence, creativity and innovation in teaching economics and personal finance. These awards honor innovative and engaging approaches to teaching economics, personal finance or entrepreneurship at the K-12 level.

The recipients of the awards were celebrated during the Economic Educator Awards ceremony, an annual event organized by VCEE and the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, with sponsorship from Virginia Credit Union and Virginia Housing.

For more information about the Economic Educator Awards, please visit

2023-2024 Featured RMC Books

Introducing the Reading Makes Cents Featured Books for 2023-2024! Calling all elementary school librarians in Virginia! Unlock the opportunity to bring Reading Makes Cents to your school, thanks to Virginia529. Complete a quick application now!

“It Began with Lemonade” Author Gideon Sterer, Illustrated by Lian Cho

Dive into the refreshing world of entrepreneurship as we follow the journey that began with a simple glass of lemonade. Explore the lessons of financial literacy through the eyes of young innovators.

“I LOVE Strawberries” Author Shannon Anderson, Illustrator Jaclyn Sinquett

Embark on a berry delightful adventure as we discover the sweet side of financial responsibility. Unveil the importance of budgeting and making wise choices with the delightful tale of strawberries.

“Wants vs. Needs vs. Robots” Author/Illustrator Michael Rex

Gear up for a futuristic exploration of financial decision-making. Navigate the world of robots while learning essential lessons about distinguishing wants from needs.

Get ready, K-8 students and librarians in Virginia, for an engaging journey into financial literacy with these captivating books and interactive lesson plans!

Let the reading adventures begin!

It’s Special Teams Tuesday in October, and we’re celebrating our MVPs of Economic Education!

Every Tuesday this October, we’re celebrating the real MVPs of economic education across Virginia – our incredible University-Based Centers! They’re the true champions when it comes to equipping K-12 teachers, school divisions, and local businesses with the knowledge and tools they need to tackle economic education.

Today, it’s time to get our game faces on!

  • Virginia Tech’s very own Dixie Dalton, the director extraordinaire, and co-director Dr. Cheryl Ayers! They’re the dynamic duo leading the charge in economic education, and they’re scoring big on and off the economics field!
  • University of Virginia College at Wise Director, Dr. Zafar Khan – A true defensive powerhouse, ensuring economic education is strong and resilient in every tackle it faces!

Let’s rally behind them and cheer for their dedication to our community’s economic literacy!

Stay tuned for more Special Teams Tuesday spotlights throughout October, as we highlight the unsung heroes of the VCEE Economic Education network!

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