Mesa economics teacher wins Gaydos and Chad’s teacher tribute for November

Dec 15, 2023, 5:00 PM | Updated: 6:15 pm

Windi Valarde...

Windi Valarde continues to inspire her students with real-world applications even in the face of her own adversity. (Courtesy of Windi Valarde)

(Courtesy of Windi Valarde)

PHOENIX — An economics teacher in Mesa was named KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Gaydos and Chad Show’s Pay Tribute to a Teacher winner for November, presented by Your Valley Toyota Dealers.

Windi Valarde inspires her students at Mountain View High School in Mesa with real world applications to personal finance.

Each week, Valarde holds “Financial Fridays” with her students, teaching them about personal finance, 401(k)s, budgeting, insurance and more.

One parent, who nominated Valarde for the $2,500 prize, said their child was so inspired by Valarde’s advice that they went to open an investment and retirement account the day they turned 18 years old.

In recent years, Valarde has lost family members and had her house flooded multiple times. Through it all, she shows up for her students.

“My students are here. They need me.” Valarde said. “I know that they’ve had some challenges in their lives, and together we’re gonna get through.”

With the prize money, she plans to set up an index fund for her first granddaughter, who is one month old. She says that a $1,550 index fund set up at birth metastasizes into $1 million by age 65. Valarde also wants to get her kitchen painted.

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Mesa economics teacher wins Gaydos and Chad’s teacher tribute for November