This spring Pocomoke High School principal Annette Wallace was named Maryland High School Principal of the Year, and subsequently chosen by the Maryland Association of Secondary School Principals to represent the state in the National Association of Secondary School Principals National Principal of the Year competition this coming fall. We had the pleasure of speaking with her about her work in furthering financial literacy among her student population.
As our JA Hero, you have made efforts to promote financial literacy, entrepreneurship, and/or workforce readiness in the community. How did you become involved? What is your specific involvement? Why do you feel there is a need to promote this effort?
As a principal of a school where nearly 75% of the student population is estimated to live at or below poverty level, I saw the growing need to provide students with increased financial literacy skills. Over the summer a team of teachers from Pocomoke High School developed a Consumer and Personal Finance curriculum that all freshman at Pocomoke High School were enrolled in this past fall. Pocomoke High School is very proud to be the flagship school in Worcester County that is providing financial literacy to all students.
What can our community members do to be mini Heroes? How do you feel they can affect change in their immediate circle? In the community as a whole?
Soft skills do not develop in a vacuum. Financial literacy and entrepreneurial skills cannot flourish in a closed system. Truthfully, there aren't many things that develop and grow without outside influences. Educating 20th Century Learners must be purposeful with the goal to be college and career ready. And when it comes to financial literacy and stability, as a community, we must teach these skills, model these skills, and encourage these skills in the next generation of students. Our children need to learn about income and careers, planning and money management, credit and debit options, saving and investing, and the need for insurance. Junior Achievement provides wonderful opportunities for community members to get involved by volunteering his/her time in local classrooms.
How does your involvement with youth financial literacy, work readiness, and entrepreneurship efforts affect our area as a whole? How does it affect future citizens and the future of the Eastern Shore?
Through Junior Achievement programs at Pocomoke High School students learn to focus on the end result; becoming citizens who contribute positively to society both economically and socially. The end result for many of my students can be so much better than the cycle they are living in now. Modeling behaviors and teaching social responsibility, JA programs help students break the cycle of poor choices.
Do you have a story to share with us? Any times where you saw the impact of your work in action? Anything to illustrate why this is such important work?
The staff of Pocomoke High is excited to witness the results within our freshman upon completion of the Consumer and Personal Finance class. The dividends of our efforts are difficult to capture but as we look forward to the future and to new partnerships that we hope to develop through this educational opportunity. Pocomoke High is very encouraged, ultimately believing that our students are our future and without sound financial literacy and a sense of entrepreneurship our future won't be quite as bright!
Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
Unless the students of Pocomoke High are provided with positive visions beyond the bounds of their current situations, they cannot transcend barriers to realize the dreams my staff has for them. Junior Achievement programs help lift the veil and provide students with a vision of things to come. Financial literacy will empower the future generation and Junior Achievement is helping students in Worcester County realize their dreams through financial stability and entrepreneurial opportunities.
Worcester County is my heritage and my home- I am a Worcester County Public Schools graduate and have been a proud resident of Worcester County for my entire life! I earned my Bachelors of Science in Mathematics with a Concentration in Secondary Education from Salisbury University and upon graduation began my teaching career at Stephen Decatur High School where I taught mathematics and coached softball and soccer. During my time at Stephen Decatur pursued an MA and earned my graduate degree in School Leadership from Wilmington College. I have also served as Assistant Principal at Pocomoke High School for two years, during which time I began my doctorate studies at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. In the spring of 2012, I was named Principal of Pocomoke High School and in the spring of 2015 I graduated with an Ed.D in Educational Leadership. During my personal time, I enjoy volunteering in my community with the United Way and I love teaching Sunday School at Spence Baptist Church. I serve on the United Way Board of Directors and on the Atlantic General Hospital Corporate Board of Directors and am a former Salisbury University Varsity Club Board member.