By EMMA BARTLETT
General Treasurer Seth Magaziner posthumously awarded Cranston East teacher Meaghan McGonagle with the state’s 2022 Financial Literacy Educator of the Year award on …
By EMMA BARTLETT
General Treasurer Seth Magaziner posthumously awarded Cranston East teacher Meaghan McGonagle with the state’s 2022 Financial Literacy Educator of the Year award on Thursday; McGonagle died from Covid in December 2021 at age 41. The award, presented for the past five years is awarded to an educator who has excelled in and out of the classroom and provided students with the financial literacy skills they need to successfully navigate the nation’s complex financial system.
“Meaghan McGonagle was a beloved teacher with a young family who touched the lives of countless Cranston East students in meaningful ways,” said Magaziner. “We honor her memory and her many accomplishments in advancing our goal of providing high-quality personal finance lessons to all Rhode Island students by awarding her the Financial Literacy Educator of the Year award.”
Magaziner said from his experience as a third and fourth grade public school teacher, he knows how impactful financial education could be. He said knowing how to manage personal finances – such as saving, budgeting and investing – is important and gives people the confidence to achieve their ambitions. Since financial education has been added as a graduation requirement within the state, starting next year, all students graduating from Rhode Island Public Schools will have had financial education.
Magaziner said the circumstances that brought them together were sad and tragic but also a reminder that all educators over the past several years took personal risks for the state’s young people.
“Thousands and thousands of everyday Rhode Islanders bravely went to work everyday in service of students and I think Meaghan and her story are emblematic of that bravery,” Magaziner said.
McGonagle’s father, mother, son and daughter accepted the award on her behalf at Thursday’s event.
“We’re really proud of Meaghan. She’s done so much in the Cranston community,” said her mother, Priscilla.
In addition to teaching business courses at East, McGonagle coached the boys’ and girls’ volleyball teams at Cranston East. Priscilla said her daughter was not just part of the school as a teacher and a coach but part of the kids’ lives.
“It’s really an honor to accept this award on her behalf,” said her father, Mike. “She dedicated her life to her work at Cranston East. Students were the most important thing to her.”
Superintendent of Cranston Public Schools Jeannine Nota-Masse said CPS was the first district within the state to require financial literacy as a graduation requirement. McGonagle was instrumental in creating the district’s program and Nota-Masse noted that McGonagle was a bright light and truly deserved the award. McGonagle was one of 12 nominations for the award; Cranston East Guidance Counselor Jodi Murphy nominated her back in September.
“Meg was more than just an extraordinary teacher, she was a remarkable mother, daughter, colleague, coach and friend,” said Murphy. “She inspired students to do their best both on and off the court. She was the heart and soul of Cranston East.”
Cranston High School East Principal Sean Kelly also recognized McGonagle’s award.
“Meg was a tremendous teacher. I always enjoyed going into her classroom to hear the latest question of the day, joking with her and her students on the latest news around the school, or just listening to her conversations with kids about her subject matter. Her impact on the lives of her students and players will be felt for years to come. I think about her almost every day and miss her tremendously,” said Kelly.
“She’ll forever be part of the East family,” Nota-Masse said.
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