General Treasurer Seth Magaziner today paid a surprise visit to Edward S. Rhodes Elementary School in Cranston to recognize James Gemma as Rhode Island's Financial Literacy Educator of the Year.
"Teaching our students the skills they need to manage their personal finances responsibly leads to greater economic opportunity throughout their lives," said Treasurer Magaziner. "Mr. Gemma understands that these are skills that all students need to succeed and that it is never too early to start learning. It is my pleasure to honor him as the 2019 Financial Literacy Educator of the Year."
Mr. Gemma is the first elementary school teacher to be recognized with Rhode Island's Financial Literacy Educator of the Year award. Earlier this year, two of Mr. Gemma's students placed in the top ten for the national Investwrite competition, which reinforces students' personal finance knowledge and hones their critical thinking skills.
Parents tell me that their children are excited learn in his class," said Principal Erica Williams who nominated Mr. Gemma for the award. "Students are also learning important skills around collaboration, accountability, and technology".
Treasurer Magaziner was joined for the surprise visit by Cranston Mayor Allan Fung, City Councilor Lammis Vargas, Cranston Public Schools Superintendent Jeannine Nota-Masse and Principal Erica Williams. Mr. Gemma's wife, his two children, and his father were also part of the presentation ceremony.
"All year Mr. Gemma has worked tirelessly to prepare my classmates and me for real life financials. He lets us figure out the consequences of buying of stocks and bonds, while having fun and learning," said the 5th grade student who co-nominated Mr. Gemma for the award.
The Financial Literacy Educator of the Year award recognizes teachers who excel in and out of the classroom to provide their students with the financial literacy skills they need to successfully navigate our complex financial system. Previous honorees include East Greenwich High School teacher Patricia Page, Richard Garland of North Kingstown High School, and Anthony Avicoll of North Providence High School.
# # #
A photo of Treasurer Magaziner and Mr. Gemma can be downloaded at: treasury.ri.gov/2019Teacher