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Educator Spotlight: Dr. Maddy Halbach

June 15, 2022 11:20 AM | Anonymous

        Dr. Maddy Halbach      

Application and Research Laboratory

Howard County Public Schools

Academy of Finance (AOF)



Dr. Maddy Halbach fully understands the intrinsic value of personal financial education. “The reason I teach is to give kids the opportunity to know what they're doing so they can make good decisions that will impact the rest of their lives.”

Dr. Halbach is the Academy of Finance instructor for the Howard County Public School System. For the past 15 years, she has taught economics, business, and finance courses to high school students at the Applications and Research Laboratory, the Career and Technical High School for Howard County that enrolls students from 12 county high schools.

Her passion is in introducing students to financial literacy so they can use those skills to reduce the achievement and socio-economic gaps for students.And thanks to her passion and dedication, her students have thrived. Many of them have won state and national competitions in personal finance, and Stock Market Game regional awards and MCEE’s Investwrite challenge. In 2021 and 2022 a team of her students captured not only first place in the Maryland Personal Finance Challenge competition, but went on to represent Maryland in the National Personal Finance Challenge Program. In both 2021 and 2022 her Maryland champion teams fought their way to a second place national finish.

Especially rewarding for Dr. Halback is “seeing students from disadvantaged areas who can turn their lives around by making good financial decisions in their late teens and early 20s. It's easy to get yourself into debt and hard to get out of it,” said Dr. Halback. “But if you understand finances, you won’t put yourself into debt. If all high school students fully understand financial literacy, they can make informed decisions about what they want to do and where they want to be. They can decide on going to college full time or part time - or at all - and in-state or out-of-state with a higher tuition. They can take out loans with the knowledge that they have to be paid back and know to explore and apply for  scholarships.” 

“It’s a way to come out of poverty,” notes Dr. Halbach. “Education and financial literacy can help  break the vicious cycle of generational poverty.”

Dr. Halbach’s personal story attests to this. “I was an immigrant coming from an area where education was not a priority. I dropped out of high school when I was 15 years old. What followed were some bad financial decisions, a few questionable life choices and some eye-opening experiences. Eventually, while raising three wonderful children, I returned to school to acquire my GED, Bachelor’s, Masters and eventually my Ph.D. I want to help kids avoid the same pitfalls.”

Dr. Hablach’s commitment to her students has been recognized. She was honored as the Maryland Financial Literacy Teacher of the Year in 2016 and the 2017 Howard County Teacher of the Year. She has trained teachers around the country on implementing financial education courses and has been a guest speaker for financial literacy scholarship awards, economic council events, and at national and state conferences. Dr. Halbach also co-wrote an online financial literacy course for the State of Maryland.

Not surprisingly, Dr. Habach is an advocate for a statewide financial education requirement in order to graduate high school. “Too oten, school is the only place where children will learn how to make these decisions. And unless it’s mandated, it doesn’t get taught.”

“I am proud to say that 100% of my students have graduated high school, 99% have passed the NAF certification, and 95% are college bound, says Dr. Halbach. “My heart is full of pride for what my students have accomplished.”

 

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