140619_HER07_28Jim Rollins

Age: 67
Hometown: Hindsville
Cause: Financial education in public schools

“Imagine a fairground setting, a major arena for livestock events,” says Rollins, superintendent of the Springdale School District. Kids of all ages ride, show and help organize this rodeo and their teachers base an economic curricula on it. “First graders make stick horses and ride them in an arena. Then teachers talk about the cost of raising animals and how to sell for profit.” This annual four-day event is only one of several ways Rollins encourages his 20,500 students in grades K-12 to learn about money. A superintendent for 32 years, Rollins still goes into classrooms, including one at the University of Arkansas. Teachers and parents credit him for being the cheerleader who’s turned real-life experiences into economic literacy.

Says Rollins:

I wanted to satisfy a personal dream: that economic literacy be the centerpiece of every school curriculum. I think we’re doing that.”

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