2015 Vermont Financial Literacy Champion

John_PelletierThe Vermont Jump$tart Coalition is pleased to recognize John Pelletier, Director of the Champlain College Center for Financial Literacy, as the 2015 Financial Literacy Champion. 

The award recognizes leadership and outstanding innovation and achievement in the effort to advance the financial literacy of Vermont youth. The honor comes with a $1,000 cash award.

“We are pleased to recognize John’s passion for financial literacy which motivated him to create the Vermont Teachers Financial Literacy Summer Institute at Champlain College,” said Vermont Jump$tart Coalition President Judy Ribolini. “Within three years, 97 Vermont personal finance educators completed the institute coursework and returned to their classrooms to share that knowledge with students across the state.”

In 2010, Pelletier approached the President at Champlain College with a proposal to start the first center for financial literacy in Vermont. With the college’s approval, he pursued funding to begin the center and secured support to start the summer institute. The goal of the institute was to increase the financial literacy and instructional capability of Vermont teachers, with a focus on teachers at the high school and middle school level. The 45-hour graduate-level course was taught over five consecutive days during the summer. Based on enrollment projections for the teachers who attended the institute, it is estimated that approximately 38,000 students will be impacted by the training within the next decade.

“I am honored and humbled by this recognition,” said Pelletier. “The real financial literacy heroes in Vermont are the passionate, engaging and dedicated educators in our classrooms who are providing personal finance training to our future citizens. These fantastic educators deserve our gratitude and support. This award is a direct result of these amazing educators who are clearly making a difference in the financial lives of many of their students.”

Pelletier also partnered with the national Jump$tart Coalition to have the summer institute named as one of five participants in a nationwide pilot project on financial literacy training for teachers. The work in Vermont bolstered efforts to develop a model of effective approaches to training teachers in personal finance. Pelletier is currently leading a research effort through Champlain College to determine the impact on students of having a highly-trained financial literacy educator teaching personal finance versus classroom instruction from teachers without the specific training. The two-year pilot project concludes this school term. The results will be distributed nationwide.

The award was made as part of an annual financial literacy awards ceremony sponsored by the Vermont State Treasurer’s Office. A proclamation by Gov. Peter Shumlin was presented to Vermont Jump$tart declaring April as Financial Literacy Month in Vermont.