InVEST®, the insurance industry’s premier classroom-to-career education program, is pleased to name the InVEST Teacher of the Year Award in honor of Florida educator Gary Preston. The award will bear Preston's name for the next five years in recognition of his distinguished career teaching InVEST for more than two decades.
Preston, who will retire from St. Petersburg Catholic High School in St. Petersburg, Fla. in May 2014, was awarded the InVEST Teacher of the Year Award in 2000. His course, which gives students firsthand experience as a mock independent insurance agency, has been used as a model for dozens of other programs across the country.
“In his InVEST class, Gary offers students realistic small business experiences in the classroom and keeps them involved and enthused about learning the skills needed to excel in everyday life and in the work place,” says Jennifer Robinson, InVEST program director. “Gary’s hands-on simulation courses not only teach financial literacy and expose students to the insurance industry, but also accounting, resume design, management skills and team work. InVEST is proud to recognize and publically thank Gary Preston for committing so much of his energy and talent to InVEST.”
Each year, many of Preston’s InVEST students are employed during the summer months at local agencies and companies. Many students continue to work part-time at their place of business upon high school graduation and receive scholarships through InVEST’s state and national scholarship program.
“The future of the independent insurance agency system and the industry as a whole depends on attracting new talent and InVEST is a major part of this development,” says Bob Rusbuldt, Big “I” president & CEO. “We applaud the excellent educators, like Gary Preston, who carry the InVEST torch and continue stepping up to train, inspire and teach the next generation of industry leaders.”
Robinson presented the recognition on behalf of the InVEST board during the annual Florida InVEST teacher workshop hosted by the Florida Association of Insurance Agents. The event was coordinated by InVEST Florida state champion Lindsey Shank, who serves on the InVEST national board of directors and graduated from Preston’s InVEST program 15 years ago to become a successful agency professional.