Entrepreneurship Teacher/Work-Based Learning Coordinator
Gwinnett County School District
Cindy Quinlan is the work-based learning coordinator, marketing teacher and co-DECA advisor at Brookwood High School. Since Quinlan took over the marketing program in 2008, program enrollment and DECA membership doubled; the program was awarded industry certification; numerous students went on to win state DECA competitions; and the school’s student run store, Bronco Stampede, quadrupled its sales. Former student Jasmine Morgan says, “Not only does Ms. Quinlan teach fundamental values, but she also changes lives each and every day, from year to year.”
Quinlan pioneered a lean start-up approach in her entrepreneurship classroom where her students must develop a business that can be started within a week and with minimal costs. Twelve viable and profitable student businesses have been launched out of her classroom over the past two years. Through an entrepreneurship alliance with the city of Snellville, each of these student businesses is provided local entrepreneur mentorship, a specially issued business license and a chance to earn investment capital by pitching their business to a judging panel. The program has been replicated in eight schools in the county in alignment with Quinlan’s course guide and lessons. In 2014, Quinlan was asked to help write an embedded entrepreneurship four-year curriculum layout; in a spin-off version she developed for Brookwood, ninth-grade Language Arts and an introduction to business and technology are embedded into her entrepreneurship course, allowing students to receive three course credits in two class periods. In 2015, Quinlan was selected to be one of the lead instructors for a week-long institute in Honduras to build local entrepreneurship education for secondary and postsecondary teachers in a developing country.
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