Teachers can play a significant role in helping students learn the importance of making informed monetary decisions. As a member of The Independent Bankers Association of Texas (IBAT), Texas National Bank was presented with the opportunity to nominate a teacher in the community who is currently promoting financial literacy. Terri Pittman, Sweetwater Independent School District Superintendent and Stacy Jones, Sweetwater High School Principal, helped Texas National Bank identify Skylar Houston as a deserving nominee for the 2012 IBAT Education Foundation Teaching Excellence in Financial Literacy Award.
Houston is a 1999 Sweetwater High School graduate who moved back to the area several years ago with his wife, Ami Houston and their two young daughters. He currently teaches 12th grade government and economics at Sweetwater High School where he incorporates a financial literacy program into his curriculum to give students instruction on the economic decisions they will face during college and in their personal lives.
Houston focuses his lessons on three key areas: personal investment, credit and post-secondary education because he believes that these areas make up the foundation of a young personâ€™s fiscal education. His teaching relies on in-class discussion, projects and personal experiences shared by other teachers and local residents. When asked about his teaching method involving sharing personal experiences, Skylar said, â€śI believe that people, especially high school students, are more engaged when learning through stories. When itâ€™s real, the students listen more attentively, ask questions and are more likely to retain the information.â€ť
The nomination came as a surprise and honor to Skylar and he was delighted that his hometown bank was recognizing him for his efforts. Mike Fernandez at Texas National Bank said, â€śTeaching financial literacy to our students has been neglected for many years and it is only recently beginning to gain traction. We are so fortunate to have someone like Skylar in the community tackling such an important topic.â€ť
The nomination deadline for the award was Dec. 17, and the winnerswill be announced on Jan. 28. If chosen, IBAT representatives will travel to Sweetwater to acknowledge Houston and present him with his award of $1,000 that Skylar said, â€świll go straight to the bank for safe keeping!â€ť