A Cuyamaca College educator passionate about improving the teaching of economics has been honored by the California Council of Economic Education for his dedication to the field.
Anthony (Tony) Zambelli received the 2012 Adam’s Apple Award at the California Association of School Economics Teachers Conference Oct. 26 in Yorba Linda.
“I’m greatly honored by the award,” Zambelli said. “But I’m even more honored that so many economics teachers attended the conference for the same reason I did – to improve our craft by continually learning how to teach economics better.”
Zambelli began teaching at Cuyamaca College in 1979, just a year after the community college in Rancho San Diego opened. After a law was enacted in 1985 requiring high school students to take an economics class before they can graduate, he often conducted workshops for teachers to help them instruct their students about the subject.
In 2006, Zambelli worked to have Cuyamaca College designated as the Center for Economic Education serving San Diego and Imperial counties. Cuyamaca College is the only community college designated by the state Council on Economic Education among the 11 centers located at colleges and universities around California.
The center trains up to 150 elementary and high school teachers each year on the best methods for teaching economics and how to infuse economics into other subject areas, such as geography or history. For example, he said, a geography teacher might discuss with students the economic effects of a factory locating at the mouth of a river near shipping lanes instead of an inland site.
“Many decisions have economic connotations,” Zambelli said. “The only way we can solve our long-term economic problems is to understand that choices have consequences.”
He also serves as a district coordinator for the Center for Civic Education’s We the People program, which promotes civic competence and responsibility among the nation’s elementary and secondary students.
Zambelli officially retired from Cuyamaca College three years ago, but he still teaches two classes and serves as the college’s student learning outcomes coordinator in addition to his unpaid work as director of the Center for Economic Education. He also serves as a board member of the Foundation for Grossmont & Cuyamaca Colleges, which raises money for programs and scholarships at the two East County colleges.
In addition to the award, Zambelli received a letter of commendation from Tom Torlakson, state Superintendent of Public Instruction, a California State Assembly resolution, and a $1,000 check.
“I’m very pleased that Tony has received statewide recognition for what we at Cuyamaca College have always known,” college President Mark J. Zacovic said. “He’s incredibly dedicated to educating students about economics and to helping them to become better citizens of the world.”