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Ten Trade Teachers Awarded Over $500,000
Inaugural Harbor Freight Tools for Schools Prize for Teaching Excellence


The Harbor Freight Tools for Schools Prize for Teaching Excellence, which recognizes outstanding instruction in the skilled trades in U.S. public high schools, awarded $510,000 to the three first‐place winners and seven second‐place winners. Harbor Freight Tools made additional donations totaling $44,000 to 44 semi‐finalists.

Harbor Freight Tools for Schools, a charitable initiative that supports the advancement of skilled trades education in public high schools, recently announced the winners of their Prize for Teaching Excellence. This inaugural prize competition drew nearly 700 applicants from 48 states, and the field was narrowed to 54 semi‐finalists. The application process included a learning component that gave all applicants access to ideas and practices through a series of online expert‐led learning modules designed to help them be more effective in the classroom.

The three first-place winners will each receive $30,000 as well as $70,000 for their schools to support the skilled trades programs. Congratulations to Bob Kilmer, who teaches construction, architecture, woodworking and computer-aided design in Washington; Jonathan Schwartz, who teaches construction, drafting and woodworking in Northern California; and Brendan Malone, who teaches marine systems in New York.

Seven second-place winners will receive $10,000 and their high schools will receive $20,000 for their skilled trade programs. Among the second place winners are Gerald "Dave" Huffman and Patrick Wadsworth, who teach construction technology in Mississippi; Ed Hughes, who teaches construction and technology education in Wisconsin; Cole Smith and Bill Hartman, who teach construction and woodworking in California; and Randy Williamson, who teaches construction trades in Pennsylvania.

Forty-four semi-finalists received $1,000 gift cards for their high schools from Harbor Freight Tools.

"We're thrilled to celebrate these remarkable teachers for inspiring their students to stay in school and develop skills that can lead to great paying jobs that are so important to our economy," said Eric Smidt, CEO and owner of national tool retailer Harbor Freight Tools and founder of The Smidt Foundation, which established and operates Harbor Freight Tools for Schools. "We created this prize to shine a spotlight on excellent skilled trades teaching and to attract investment in these classes so a strong skilled trades education can once again be available to public high school students across America."

To learn more about Harbor Freight Tools for Schools, visit

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August 24, 2019, 4:18 pm PDT

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