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The History of the Academy of Finance Nationally/NAF
The Academy of Finance first began in 1982 when Sanford Weill, then Chairman of Citigroup, made a commitment to connect inner-city high school students in New York City with the world of financial services. Weil forged partnerships with leaders in education and business, and their collaboration produced the first Academy of Finance. Those efforts ultimately led to a broader, national education reform initiative – The National Academy Foundation-NAF.

Today the Academy of Finance education reform model is found in 716 schools across the United States impacting nearly 89,000 students in 36 states including Washington, D.C. and the U.S. Virgin Islands. These “schools within schools” require students to take academically challenging courses in their Academy content area and provide valuable experiences to help bridge the gap between school and business. Across the United States, NAF now supports academies in Finance, Information Technology, Engineering, Health Sciences, and Hospitality & Tourism.

Bishop Ward’s Academy of Finance
The Bishop Ward Academy of Finance began in the Fall of 2006 with the sophomore class. The first AOF graduating class was the class of 2009. The BWHS AOF program has as its purpose to prepare students to be college and career ready. Students sign up for the program in the Spring of their freshman year and begin the curriculum their sophomore year. When they complete the AOF program, they will have made numerous business connections, had job shadowing/ internship opportunities, and will have completed a course of study that has prepared them to be financially literate. The curriculum includes courses in personal finance, applied finance, law, economics, entrepreneurship, accounting, and electives of digital/video productions and web design. The curriculum includes STEM infused industry-specific curricula and work-based learning experiences for all students. The Bishop Ward AOF is currently the only Catholic School in the NAF network and the only NAF Academy in the state of Kansas.

The Academy of Finance (AOF) is an outstanding program for Bishop Ward students who want to enhance their high school career with a “real world” experience. AOF features a dynamic range of academic courses that focus on college preparation in the worlds of business and finance.

The Bishop Ward High School Academy of Finance seeks to prepare students for college, work, and citizenship through rigorous and engaging projects that connect to real issues in business and finance.


The AOF Advisory Board
The Bishop Ward Academy of Finance has a group of volunteers who comprise its Advisory Board. These are volunteer business professionals who help the Director by providing an essential bridge between schools and the workplace. Businesspeople and community leaders volunteer on the advisory board to play an active role in developing their future workforce by shaping talent in high school. Advisory board members collaborate with the director and educators to support the curricula by providing what resources they are able – such as class speakers, job shadow/ internship opportunities, help in organizing work-based learning activities and events, as well as provide guidance and resources for event sponsoring. Advisory boards give students the opportunity to build relationships with mentors early and learn from successful adults. They meet as a group once a month and help in whatever capacity their schedule allows.

AOF Director and Staff
For the 2016-2017 school year, there are currently 82 BWHS students participating in the Academy of Finance. There are 3 AOF instructors in the program: Jeff Nesselhuf, Kevin O’Brien, and Chris Sinclair. Lori Dowd is the Director of the AOF program. Lori taught for 31 years in the business department here at Bishop Ward and was an instructor at the inception of the program. Lori works closely with the Development Office staff and Maggie Mohrfeld, Development Office Director.

Unique Opportunities
AOF provides students with unique curriculum and work-based learning. This program provides students with opportunities to learn teachable skills in addition to the soft skills required by today’s business industry. Students will learn hard skills such as accounting, banking, personal finance, budgeting, credit and economic knowledge and in addition will learn the soft skills of communication, leadership, problem-solving, decision-making, time management, team work, creativity, adaptability and flexibility.

Upcoming AOF Events:
• Speakers during homeroom - once a month:
• Meetings during homeroom – once a month:
• Dress for Success
• Career Day for all students
• Ongoing Job Shadowing
• College Visits: Rockhurst, UMKC, KU, KState, JCCC, KCKCC
• Finance Conference/College Visit
• Etiquette Dinner
• Leadership Conference
• Networking Event


Spirit Shop
The Spirit Shop is another incredible opportunity for AOF students to gain valuable business experience. The Spirit Shop sells Cyclone Spirit clothing and accessories as well as religious goods. AOF students may apply to work and manage the store under the supervision of Mr. Nesselhuf.

How does a student join?
Please check out the FAQ section for complete instructions on how a student joins the Academy of Finance and the specific programs we provide.

Advisory Board/Business Partnerships
The Bishop Ward Academy of Finance has a group of volunteers who comprise its Advisory Board. These are volunteer business professionals who help the Director by providing an essential bridge between schools and the workplace. Business people and community leaders volunteer on the advisory board to play an active role in developing their future workforce by shaping talent in high school. Advisory board members collaborate with the director and educators to support the curricula by providing what resources they are able – such as class speakers, job shadow/ internship opportunities, help in organizing work-based learning activities and events, as well as provide guidance and resources for event sponsoring. Advisory boards give students the opportunity to build relationships with mentors early and learn from successful adults. They meet as a group once a month and help in whatever capacity their schedule allows.

Anyone interested in partnering with the AOF program in any capacity is asked to contact Lori Dowd for more information.

Contact Us
 
For more information, questions, or comments about the AOF program, please contact Lori Dowd, Director of AOF at ldowd@wardhigh.org or call 913-371-1201.



AOF Newsletter:

AOF Advisory Board:
A sincere “thank you” to our
Advisory Board! Their volunteer work and dedication to the program is key to the success of the Academy.

Director
Lori Dowd
Director of Development
Maggie Mohrfeld
President
Zach Dehaemers
 
Business Partners/Board Members
Rich Delaney
Adam Foote, Sprint
Cindy Heiman
Dr. Robert Kao, Park University
Cassie Meschke, KPMG
Trish Messick, Argus Health Systems
Tashina Ramirez, Cerner
Suzanne Tidwell, Marriott Hotels
Paul Van Erem – Enterprise Bank & Trust
Robin Wells, Country Club Bank
 
AOF/Business Instructors:
Jeff Nesselhuf – Department Chair
Kevin O’Brien
Chris Sinclair

BWHS Principal
Karen Hopson