Teacher Spotlight



Andrea Caceras Santamaria was named the 2018 Economic Educator of the Year at last May’s Governor’s Award Program For Excellence in Teaching Economics. Andrea has long been an active economic educator both locally in Palm Beach County and on a state and national level. In her free time she assists Dr. Bill Bosshardt at the Florida Atlantic University Center for Economic Education conducting professional development workshops and writing new lesson plans. Her work on Behavioral Economics has even been featured at the annual National Council for Economic Education Conference. Congratulations to Andrea – we can’t wait to see what you do this coming year!

School: Alexander W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts

School District: Palm Beach

Subject: AP Macroeconomics, Economics, Personal Finance

Grade Level: 12th Grade

Number of Years Teaching: 9-1/2

When did you know you wanted to be a teacher? The moment my twin sister and I started playing school when we were little girls. I was always the teacher and she was my student along with 15 stuffed toys and dolls. I inspired them all and that was it, I knew where I belonged.

If you weren’t teaching what would you do? Economics/ Financial News Reporter

What’s your favorite topic to teach? Economics (honors, regular, and AP) and Personal Finance

What’s the hardest topic to teach? I incorporate personal finance in all the economics classes, and it is a challenge to teach the math behind our financial decisions. I strongly believe that students who understand how to calculate their finances do better.

Why do you think Economics and Personal Finance are important to learn? Everyday we are faced with having to make financial decisions. I tell students that even when you put your head down in class, you are facing opportunity cost. When they look at their phones, they are making someone else rich. So, we must make the topic fun, engaging, and relevant to give them the tools to be financially successful, which includes a good understanding of how the economy works. Regardless of the amount of income they make, if they learn how to properly allocate their income and the discipline of saving we are giving them the most powerful tools for the future.

How has the FCEE impacted your teaching?
The Florida Council for Economic Education has strived to provide resources for teachers and most of all create an effective network of economics teachers, curriculum developers, and university professors throughout the state. Through their efforts and funding, Centers for Economic Education throughout the state have been able to provide teachers, such as myself, with the best resources to increase our confidence and make teaching economics more fun. I cannot even begin to explain how thankful I am that I found myself being a part of this network. A network of people who have one common goal, and that is to make it a priority for students, teachers, administrators, districts and even the state legislators to realize the importance of economic and financial education.

What’s your favorite FCEE resource or program?
My favorite resource is Financial Fitness for Life (THE textbook for my personal finance classes), and my favorite program is The Governor’s Award Program

What advice would you give to a first-year economics or personal finance teacher? Find the Center for Economic Education near you and attend as many workshops as you can. This will connect you to a group of amazing people, including those who work for the Florida Council for Economic Education. It is essential to find ways to make it FUN for the students and for you. The more fun it is, the less scary it seems. Instead of being intimidated by the subject make it yours and the students favorite!

What do you like to do for fun outside of school? Traveling as much as I can. Every chance we get, my husband and I plan an adventure when we have breaks from school. This summer we took our doggy, and our camper, and drove to Alaska and back!

What’s one thing your students may not know about you? That I am a huge fan of the Tomb Raider video game series and play it on Xbox.