The summer of 2021 was a great time for youth entrepreneurship in the local Boys & Girls Clubs. With support from YES, local programs ran mini-economies that taught lessons in economics and entrepreneurship. “The programs went great. In fact, the Teen Center ran a mini-economy several times because they enjoyed it so much,” reported Executive Director Sandra Quigg. Here are some pictures from the local clubs:

These entrepreneurs created a bingo enterprise.

Market day!

Open for business!

Here are Potato Bucks at the Simms Center — a youth-created currency.

Lauren Shifflett of Elkton Elementary School has won the John Morton Award for 2021 as the most outstanding elementary economic educator nationally. John Morton Awards are given annually by the Council for Economic Education in elementary, middle and high school categories.

As the winner, Lauren receives $1000 and will address her colleagues nationally on classroom technique at the “Award-Winning Teachers Share Best Practices” session of the Council’s annual convention on October 1.

The award honors consistent use of exemplary teaching techniques rather than any one project.

Members of the Harrisonburg Rotary Club will remember the day in 2019 when Lauren charmed everyone present with a description of her local grand prize-winning project, “Shifflett Superville: Soaring Together.” In that project first graders learned basic economic concepts by building a city and its market institutions with a superhero theme. Lauren addressed the club together with two of her superhero students, who were present with their masks and capes.

Lauren was nominated for the award by John Kruggel, who coordinates teacher outreach and training locally for Your Economic Success (YES).

YES promotes economic and financial literacy in the Shenandoah Valley.

YES’s teacher outreach is a sponsored program of the James Madison University Center for Economic Education, where Kruggel serves as Associate Director for Program.

2019 award winner

With the help of resources from YES, a classic economic education video series from the Shenandoah Valley has been restored from VHS cassettes. Now made available on YouTube, “Money Matters: The Role of Money in an Economy,” features exemplary Shenandoah Valley teachers. It premiered at Harrisonburg’s Court Square Theater in 2000 and was distributed statewide by the Virginia Department of Education.

With VHS technology becoming obsolete, YES arranged to restore the video and upload it to YouTube for free use for any educational purpose. Downloadable .PDF teacher resources were also recovered (links below). The 50-minute video has been separated into its five segments, each featuring a different teacher:

1. Series introduction and Dennis Durost’s money lessons (kindergarten)

2. Sue Haley’s Oobleck factory (1st grade)

3. Yvette Weaver’s Mini-Society (3rd grade)

4. Andrea Freeland’s Reality Check (4th grade)

5. Andrea Nolley’s Money in the Community (5th grade), ending with production credits

A companion set of materials, developed by James Madison University’s William C. Wood, is still available in two downloadable .PDF teacher’s guides:

Original production was overseen by Teresa Harris of JMU’s College of Education. Videography and editing were done by Jeffrey Butler. The entire enterprise was funded by a grant from the Virginia Department of Education.

YES’s new video series “Home Front Economics” was one of the topics of discussion in the national podcast by the National Association of Economic Educators that went live December 17. The video series helps parents and students learn at home, using household items to illustrate concepts in economics and personal finance. Also mentioned was our collaboration with the Explore More Discovery Museum to bring a personal finance exhibit and supporting materials to the museum. Here’s a link to the entire podcast:

Parents and kids are spending a lot of time learning at home these days. Wednesdays can be a problem in some schools’ “AB” schedules. But here’s an exciting way for parents and kids to learn economics at home — Home Front Economics!

Each video introduces an economic topic and then invites you to pause the playback and explore something in your home together. Then hit “play” again and see the wrapup that reinforces economic content.

On each video we have two elementary schoolkids and two economic educators modeling the activity. Running time is 5 to 10 minutes. Exploration can take you as far as you’d like.

Here’s the first one — have a look!

Michaela Minore and Cesar Gonzalez have won the top prize statewide in economic education competition for a project developed at Skyline Middle School.

In “Career and Personal Finance (Online Learning Modules),” students explored potential future paths, the education and skills needed for each path and the financial rewards.

The prize carries a $1,000 cash award and will be formally presented by the competition’s sponsor, the Virginia Council on Economic Education.

“This project did a great job of helping students see alternative futures,” said Dr. William C. Wood, director of the JMU Center for Economic Education, which conducts teacher training in economics and personal finance locally.

Minore and Gonzalez collaborated to produce and deliver both English and Spanish language versions of the project.

Second prize statewide was also won by a local entry, an in-school project by the third grade team at Bluestone Elementary School in Harrisonburg.

In “Third Grade Scarf Factory,” students worked to make and sell scarves for a good cause in a two-week cross-curricular service learning project.

The third grade team members were Eileen Hernon, Kimberly Boronat-Garcia, Peyton Erb, Sarah Rodgers, Laurissa Kennedy, Ashley Switzer and Erica Park.

Local winners were recognized at a meeting of the Rotary Club on October 5.

“These prizes are a tribute to the quality and hard work of our local teachers,” said John Kruggel, associate director for program of the JMU center. “We have about 1.4 percent of Virginia’s teachers in our service area, but they swept the top two places in state competition.”

An earlier round of local competition was sponsored by the Harrisonburg Rotary Club, Harrisonburg-Rockingham Chamber of Commerce and Shenandoah Valley Economic Education, Inc.

In local competition across all grade levels, the grand prize went to Louise Pierson of Elkton Middle School for “The City of Ember: Where Do They Go from Here?” In Pierson’s project, students created strategies for a fictional future society’s resource choices while studying Jeanne Duprau’s dystopian future novel The City of Ember.

The reserve grand prize locally went to Bluestone’s third grade scarf factory.

Locally, first prize for grades K-2 was won by Kendyl Connifey and Mariela Formiconi of Bluestone Elementary School for “Needs and Wants and Helping Others.” In their project, kindergarten students used a hot chocolate stand to learn about needs, wants and economic decision making.

Second prize locally for grades K-2 was won by Michelle Hunt of Smithland Elementary School. Hunt’s “Bread and Butter for a Cause” applied students’ economic learning to help the animals at the SPCA.

First prize for grades 3-5 locally was won by Tammy May of Lacey Spring Elementary School for “Principal’s Kindness Ambassadors Working to Make a Difference: Earning, Saving, and Serving.” In May’s project, a healthy snack cart helped elementary students learn about kindness as they worked to purchase gifts for the children at St. Jude’s Hospital.

Second prize for grades 3-5 was won by Tyler Orebaugh of Plains Elementary School for his “Virtual Career Day for Students of Rockingham County Schools.

Third prize for grades 3-5 went to Carrie Guiterrez of Spotswood Elementary School for “Camp Wonder,” a 10-week club in which students created an economy of their own, learning important lessons about markets and trade.

In the middle school division, there were two local winners:

  • Callie Randolph of Skyline Middle School won first prize for “Get a Rolling Start to Your Food Truck!” For Randolph’s project, students focused their management, literacy and life skills on a food truck business.
  • Leah Barker of Thomas Harrison Middle School won second prize for “Entrepreneurs Business Plan ,” a project teaching the importance of entrepreneurship to the economy while helping students explore business plans.

In the high school division, there were three local winners:

  • A school-wide team at Turner Ashby High School won first place with “Cashing in on Each Other with TempTAtions Coffee.” In this project, coffee lovers and students of different abilities across Turner Ashby High school benefited from activities centered on a weekly a la carte café.
  • Julie Cassetta of Spotswood High School won second place with “SHS 9th Grade Day on the Job,” a job shadowing activity that gave ninth-graders a close-up look at the world of work.
  • Ryne Powell of Spotswood High School won third place for “Centered L,” a sign-making activity that anchored explorations into business, entrepreneurship and economic decision-making.

Virginia is a national leader in economics and personal finance education, having adopted a required class for high school graduation beginning with the class of 2015. The economics and personal finance class became a statewide requirement as educators and business leaders came together on the need for economics to help students be better informed citizens and personal finance so that they could take control of their financial futures.

The year-long class in economics and personal finance makes students better informed citizens, consumers and employees. Virginia’s approach recognizes how economics and personal finance are closely connected — unlike the approach of other states that require only economics or personal finance but not both. The Virginia approach also recognizes the importance of devoting an entire course to these subjects, instead of embedding them in other classes where they may be neglected.

Emma Goehner, a 10th grader at Blue Ridge Christian High School, won first place in the statewide high school division of the InvestWrite Competition in the Spring of 2019 for her essay on Sam Walton, the founder of Walmart. This contest is the second part of the Stock Market Game™ and InvestWrite® competition and is administered by the Virginia Council on Economic Education each year. Emma traveled to Richmond for an awards luncheon hosted by the Richmond Federal Reserve on the 23rd floor. She was also honored locally at James Madison University, where all of the regional recipients were honored. See the full story on Emma.



Indiana economic educator John Kruggel has been named to succeed Lynne Stover to lead the teacher outreach programs of the JMU Center for Economic Education. With funding from Shenandoah Valley Economic Education, Inc., Kruggel will serve as Associate Director of the Center. Kruggel will conduct workshops, coordinate awards participation, develop economic lesson content and work with teachers one-on-one. Here’s a sketch on John Kruggel’s background:

John Kruggel graduated from Purdue University with a BA in Secondary Education in 2001. For his first teaching assignment he worked with the Indiana Council for Economic Education to create an award winning economics program in Haikou, China. John has over 15 years of teaching experience.

In 2010, he was one of six teachers in Indiana named an Indiana University Armstrong Teacher Educator. John has conducted numerous professional development workshops for elementary, middle and high school teachers throughout his school district. He has worked with the Indiana Council for Economic Education, as well as the IUPUI and ISU Centers for Economic Education, to organize and lead workshops throughout the state.

In 2017, he graduated from the Master of Arts in Economics and Entrepreneurship for Educators program at the University of Delaware. That same year John was named the Olin Davis Award winner for excellence in teaching economics in the state of Indiana. Most recently, he created a newsletter for economics, personal finance and business teachers in Indiana to help them integrate economics concepts covered in the news into the classroom. John has been married to his wonderful wife Heidi for nearly 10 years. Together they are the proud parents of Gabe (6) and Kathleen (4).

john kruggel

Heidi, John, Gabe and Kathleen


Lynne Stover

Lynne Stover rings the bell for the opening of the GEM Fair’s marketplace.

Lynne Stover, associate director of JMU’s Center for Economic Education, has been selected by the National Association of Economic Educators (NAEE) to receive the Bessie B. Moore Service Award, the organization’s highest honor for economic education field work. Lynne will accept the award on October 5 at a national recognition luncheon in New York.

The Center for Economic Education is an outreach center of the JMU College of Business (CoB), promoting economic literacy in the Shenandoah Valley through teacher training and consultation. An educator with more than four decades of experience, Stover conducts teacher workshops and develops curriculum and activities to support the center’s mission. A frequent contributor to EconEdLink, she has published numerous articles and is a frequent presenter at regional, state and national educational conferences.

Stover, who joined JMU in 2005, helped create and implement the GEM Fair, an area-wide entrepreneurship fair for mini-economy classrooms. She also helped launch the statewide “Reading Makes Cent$” initiative, sponsored by the Virginia 529 College Savings Program, to promote economics and personal finance literacy among elementary school-aged children.

She has been an elementary school teacher, a gifted education specialist and a middle school librarian. She was honored in 2013 with the Friend of the Virginia Association of School Librarians (VAASL) Award. In 2006, she received NAEE’s Rookie of the Year Award.

In nominating Stover for the award, JMU economics professor William Wood praised her dedication to and passion for the field of economics education.

“Lynne is a creative educator, always on the lookout for new ways to teach students and other economic educators,” Wood wrote in a nomination letter. “She understands the power of face-to-face workshops and has excelled in that format … Because of her superb presentation skills, her hard work, and her genuine heart for other economic educators, her sessions have drawn large attendance and high ratings.”