Congratulations to Minnetonka's very own Gina Nelson, who was honored with The Minnesota Council on Economic Education's (MCEE) K-8 Economic Educator of the Year Award! The award recognizes teachers who demonstrate a sustained history of commitment and contribution to economic education. Ms. Nelson received her award at MCEE's annual conference, EconFest, which took place last Saturday, December 14. MCEE is a nonprofit organization housed at the University of Minnesota with a mission to equip Minnesotans with the economic and personal financial understanding needed to succeed in today's complex economy.
"I appreciate the MN Council of Economic Education for acknowledging the importance of economic education not only in high school, but also in the middle and elementary grades," says Ms. Nelson. "I feel fortunate to be a part of a community of teachers dedicated to economics education, and it is such an honor to be chosen for this award."
Ms. Nelson teaches 8th grade Global Studies at Minnetonka Middle School East. For the past 13 years, she has been dedicated to engaging students in global issues through authentic, real world learning and is passionate about helping students solve global problems using design thinking. She contributed to MCEE's Economics is Everywhere curriculum and is currently a TeachSDG (Sustainable Development Goals) Ambassador. In this role, she has the opportunity to promote the UN Sustainable Development Goals and collaborate with educators across the globe.
"Ms. Nelson's innovative and creative lessons engage students and allow them to gain an understanding of how economics relates to their everyday lives," said MCEE Education Director, Colleen Gray. "MCEE commends Ms. Nelson's efforts to prepare her students to become financially literate citizens."
Ms. Nelson says the economics unit is one of her favorite units to teach, partly because of its importance in real-world applications and life skills. Each day, she encourages thoughtful conversation and reflection from her students through engaging activities and lesson plans. Students get the opportunity to learn early on about the importance of economics in everyday life, especially when considered internationally.
"It's so important for students to understand how connected our world is through the global economy and understand the impact of their economic choices," explains Ms. Nelson. "It is truly rewarding to be recognized for the effort I put into creating meaningful and fun economic lessons for my students."