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Tennessee educators honored with Financial Literacy Awards

Tennessee educators honored with Financial Literacy Awards

The Tennessee Financial Literacy Commission honored three Tennessee educators for their leadership in bringing financial education to their students.

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Financial Literacy Commission honored three Tennessee educators for their leadership in bringing financial education to their students. Detra Thomas, Shelly Lott, and Susan Mallette were each presented with the Tennessee Financial Literacy Commission Leadership Award by Treasurer David H. Lillard, Jr. at an event on Tuesday evening in Nashville. 

“Educators play many roles and take on many responsibilities as they teach our children. Tonight, we would like to honor three educators who are leading their schools in bringing financial education tools to their students,” Treasurer Lillard said. “They do so because they know that these lessons have real-life applications, and they are dedicated to the whole well-being of their students, and their futures.” 

Awards were presented to an educator from each of the three Tennessee Grand Divisions:

  • West Tennessee: Detra Thomas, of Hardin County Middle School, teaches financial literacy as a related arts class to 6th, 7th and 8th-grade students. As a newly established financial literacy teacher, Ms. Thomas learned of the Commission’s professional development offerings and attended six TNFLC-sponsored workshops during the Spring Professional Development Series. Ms. Thomas implemented one of the Commission’s digital financial literacy programs with 83 middle school students this past spring. By June, these students completed a total of 390 financial literacy modules on budgeting, career planning and healthy borrowing habits, thanks to Ms. Thomas’ time and dedication. 

  • Middle Tennessee: Shelly Lott, of Northeast Middle in Montgomery County, saw the value in teaching middle school students the basics of money management. As a result, she helped spearhead the effort to establish the Money Matters for Middle Schoolers class four years ago.  She now teaches the course to 6th, 7th, and 8th- grade students at Northeast Middle using a combination of the Financial Fitness for Life and Next Gen Personal Finance curricula, two of the programs the Commission highlights as part of its sponsored professional development trainings. Ms. Lott was also a member of the $martPath digital financial literacy pilot cohort and implemented the program with her students in the Spring of 2022. 

  • East Tennessee: Susan Mallette, of Knoxville, is extremely enthusiastic in participating in the Commission’s virtual professional development trainings, completing a total of 14 hours of financial literacy related professional development over the last year. As a 4th-grade Math teacher at Bearden Elementary, Ms. Mallette has found that using My Classroom Economy and the $martPath digital financial literacy platform helps make math concepts more relevant and engaging for her students, stating the “students were excited and motivated by the programs.” Ms. Mallete was unable to attend the awards program due to a family emergency.

“When we talk about opportunity for every Tennessean, when we talk about the ability for Tennesseans to succeed and be successful, part of that is for our young people to understand from a very early age financial literacy.” Governor Bill Lee said. “Teachers and educators across the state are key partners to understanding why this matters and making sure that it’s a part of what we do in this state.” 

To learn more about the Tennessee Financial Literacy Commission, please visit


About the Tennessee Financial Literacy Commission

The TNFLC is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) non-profit that relies mostly on donations from individuals and businesses for funding. It was created in 2010 with the mission to equip Tennesseans to make sound financial decisions when it comes to planning, saving, and investing. The Commission has the goal to reach every K-8 classroom in Tennessee, providing financial literacy resources, such as $martPath, My Classroom Economy, and the Financial Fitness for Life curriculum. The Commission works to train Tennessee public school teachers to incorporate financial education resources into their classrooms, and provides financial literacy resources that can be utilized online, through classroom curriculum, and by immersive, hands-on experience.

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