10th Annual Champions in Education Celebrates 50 Years of Empowering Students

Photos of the 5 Arizona Economic Education Teacher of the Year Finalists

The Arizona Council on Economic Education (ACEE) will celebrate its 50th anniversary at the 10th annual Champions in Education event on November 17th. ACEE has been committed to fostering financial and economic literacy skills among Arizona K-12 students, and this milestone highlights its impactful journey.

The event honors the dedicated Arizona educators who initiated the economic education movement from the grassroots level. Supported by the community, ACEE has driven systemic change for all children to achieve economic mobility. The contributions of Arizona universities, the Arizona Bankers Association, businesses, the Arizona Department of Education, teachers, and the community have played a vital role in this mission.

At the event, two Economic Education Teachers of the Year will be announced from the five outstanding finalists:

Gretchen Donnell, Acorn Montessori School
Chris Haak, Chaparral High School
Diane Krueger, Leading Edge Academy – Gilbert Elementary
Mitch Pinda, Valley Vista High School
Greg Thorson, BASIS Mesa

Keynote remarks will be delivered by Lyndel Manson, Chairman of the Arizona Board of Regents, and the event will be hosted by Nick Ciletti, a five-time Emmy award-winning journalist.

“The 10th annual Champions in Education is a remarkable celebration of the resiliency of Arizona educators and the support from the business community,” said Elena Zee, ACEE President and CEO. “We are immensely grateful for our dedicated board, advisors, donors, and volunteers who have sustained this mission for 50 years, empowering children with financial, economic, and entrepreneurial skills.”

Early lead sponsors include Valley SchoolsUniversity of Arizona Center for the Philosophy of FreedomArizona Bank & TrustJ2MediaUS BankValley Spinal CareComericaSRPBOK Financial, and Veregy.

Natalie Beck, the event chair, emphasized the importance of envisioning the next 50 years, stating, “This is a significant moment in ACEE’s history. Let’s collectively envision the next 50 years, ensuring our future generations receive the education they need for success.”