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Teacher goes to financial literacy conference for free

For Dr. Travis Towne, a funny thing happened on his way to a national teacher conference on financial literacy: he got a lesson in the value of money.

Bald white guy poses in front of a poser that says Welcome JumpStart EducatorsTowne, who teaches civic literacy and economics and personal finance at Lenoir County Early College High School, was one of 25 teachers in the nation to win an NGPF scholarship to attend the 2022 Jump$tart National Educator Conference in Atlanta held Nov. 4-6. 

The scholarship covered conference registration, accommodations and meals. The North Carolina Council on Economic Education, which last year named Towne a Master Teacher, provided airfare to the conference.

“The only thing I had to pay for was travel to and from the airport and meals on the way,” Towne said.

Of course, the value of his weekend away was the conference itself and the chance to interact with 350 K-12 educators who, like Towne, have a passion for making students smarter about handling money. 

Many educators work in states that, unlike North Carolina, do not require a personal finance curriculum in high school. “A lot of these teachers have been pushing to get financial literacy in their classrooms,” Towne said.

“The conference itself had some wonderful speakers. We got into some really deep aspects of financial literacy,” he said. “One of the biggest things I learned was some financial matrices of how we think about money, how our personalities deal with money. Everybody has a different way.”

Towne also got to tour the Atlanta Fed, where he learned something about the history of money “and how money actually developed in trade,” he said.

“I’m looking forward to bringing more financial literacy education into my classroom and sharing what I have learned with my peers,” Towne said. “I would like to thank the Next Gen Personal Finance (NGPF) and the North Carolina Council on Economic Education for their support to attend this amazing conference.”

Last month, NGPF named Towne an NGPF Distinguished Educator for completing six 10-hour professional development courses and earning NGPF Certification in each. He was among a group of 26 teachers to earn the Distinguished Educator title, held by only 572 teachers nationwide.