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CCIC teacher among 50 finalists for 2020 Harbor Freight Tools for Schools Prize for Teaching Excellence

Brian Manley Brian Manley, an automotive technology teacher at Cherry Creek Innovation Campus, is among 50 teachers and teacher teams from across the country that are finalists for the 2020 Harbor Freight Tools for Schools Prize for Teaching Excellence. Manley is in the running for a share of $1 million in total cash awards.

The finalists were chosen by an independent panel of judges from a field of more than 600 skilled trades teachers who applied for the prize. The finalists — some competing as individuals and some as teacher teams — hail from 23 states and specialize in trades including manufacturing, welding, construction, automotive, agriculture mechanics and technical theater.

“Trades teachers are truly unsung heroes, and our prize seeks to show everyone how powerful these classes can be,” said Danny Corwin, executive director of Harbor Freight Tools for Schools. “Skilled trades education has enormous potential to offer students pathways to multiple postsecondary opportunities, and these are the teachers who are providing them with the knowledge, skills and inspiration year after year.”

CCIC automotive students Manley’s love for all things automotive guided him toward career and technical education classes when he was a high school student. This fall, he will begin his 26th year of teaching. His program was one of the first two certified through Automotive Youth Educational Systems in 1998, and ever since, he has facilitated ongoing apprenticeships with local industry partners. Prior to accepting his current position, Manley had a career as a master automobile technician, an experience that fostered his passion for continued learning. He is currently in the final year of a doctoral program focused on leadership for education equity.

The 2020 finalists now advance to a second round of competition, where they will be asked to respond to online expert-led video learning modules designed to solicit their insights and creative ideas about teaching practices. The contenders will be asked how ideas from the modules might be used to inspire students to achieve excellence in the skilled trades. Two rounds of judging, each by separate independent panels of reviewers, will narrow the field to 18 winners and, finally, name three of those teachers Grand Prize recipients. All winners will be announced in late October.

The 18 winners will split $1 million in prizes. Grand Prize winners will each receive $100,000, with $70,000 going to their public high school skilled trades program and $30,000 to the individual skilled trades teacher or teacher team behind the winning program. The 15 additional winners will each be awarded $50,000, with $35,000 going to their public high school program and $15,000 to the teacher or team. Finalists whose school, district and/or state policy prohibits receipt of the individual portion of prize earnings were eligible to apply on behalf of their school’s skilled trades program. If they win, their entire share of the prize will be awarded to the school.

The Harbor Freight Tools for Schools Prize for Teaching Excellence was started in 2017 by Eric Smidt, the founder of national tool retailer Harbor Freight Tools. The prize recognizes outstanding instruction in the skilled trades in U.S. public high schools and the teachers who inspire students to learn a trade that prepares them for life after graduation.

Posted 7/15/20.