Warner Robins, Ga. – Harbor Freight Tools for Schools, an initiative of the California-based company’s foundation, recently named three instructors in Central Georgia Technical College’s (CGTC) Aerospace, Trade and Industry Division as finalists for its 2018 Prize for Teaching Excellence.
As part of a team of trade instructors for the Houston County Career Academy (HCCA), the selection places the three CGTC instructors in the running for a share of $1 million in cash prizes amongst a field of six in Georgia and 52 nationwide.
Antonio Shelley, program chair for Industrial Systems, John Ward, Welding instructor, and George Rosenblad, Automotive Technology instructor, teach at HCCA as a part of the Dual Enrollment program at CGTC, the College’s program for high school students to earn secondary and post-secondary credits simultaneously.
A statement by the initiative about the HCCA team including CGTC’s three instructors highlighted the variety of industry skills taught by the academy. Shelly, Ward and Rosenblad combine for 66 years of experience in their respective trades, and are touted for their close relationships with the local industry to “align their program with community and workforce needs,” the statement read.
“Embedded here in central Georgia is the type of instructor that is needed nationwide – an instructor who believes in his or her students, programs and the training that produces a talented, future workforce,” said Sabrina Phelps, principal of HCCA, pleased that her instructors serve as role models.
“This is economic development at its finest,” she said.
Harbor Freight Tools will narrow the field of 52 semifinalist down to 18 first and second-place winners. Those winners will split $1 million in cash prizes. The three first-place 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 second-place 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. Semi-finalists whose school, district 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.
The initiative expects to announce winners on November 15.
In the meantime, each CGTC instructor will continue to champion student success.
“Leadership in this partnership is great, and our plan always seems to be centered on success for students and the workforce,” Shelley said, during one of his recent classes.
Just two years into his time teaching Dual Enrollment coming from school systems in Massachusetts, Rosenblad agreed with Shelley’s sentiments.
“Everybody here seems to care more about students than they care about themselves. Perhaps what Harbor Freight sees is everyone as an organization caring about the student,” Rosenblad said.
For the second round of the competition, the team of instructors will have to respond to a series of online, expert-led video learning modules designed to solicit their insight and creative ideas about teaching practices and how they inspire their students to achieve excellence in skilled trades.
A separate panel of judges independent of Harbor Freight Tools for Schools selects each round of winners. This is the second year of the Harbor Freight Tools for Schools Prize for Teaching Excellence, which was started by Harbor Freight Tools Founder Eric Smidt to recognize outstanding instruction in the skilled trades in American public high schools.
For more information about Dual Enrollment at CGTC visit, www.centralgatech.edu/highschool
[Photo 1]: HCCA seniors and CGTC Dual Enrollment students, Dalton McNamar and Griffin Arnold, work on a project in the Industrial Systems lab at HCCA under the observation of Antonio Shelley, the program chair for CGTC.
[Photo 2]: CGTC Automotive Technology instructor, George Rosenblad (left) explains techniques for the repair of a piston to his Dual Enrollment students (from left to right) Tristan Weddington, Joseph Lopez, and Chance Schooley, in the automotive lab at Houston County Career Academy.