Peninsula High School skilled trades teacher Eric Morton has been recognized as one of 50 teacher and teacher team finalists for the 2020 Harbor Freight Tools for Schools Prize for Teaching Excellence.
The field of applicants featured more than 600 skilled trades teachers from 23 states across a range of trades. Morton was selected by an independent panel of judges as a finalist.
As a Career and Technical Education instructor, Morton teaches a Skilled Trades Pre-Apprenticeship program he started in 2017 at PHS. Trades within the program include carpentry, plumbing, electricity, masonry and finishing. Students are also able to complete their math requirement for graduation through the course.
Students graduate with five industry-based certifications and many pursue careers or further education in trades.
Through Morton’s program students have the opportunity to go on field trips such as visiting construction sites. They also work on community projects such as the tiny house that Morton’s students build for a Low-Income Housing Institute.
Morton is in the running for a share of $1 million in prizes that will be split in varying levels between 18 winners. Winners will be announced in late October 2020. Prize funds for winners will go toward their respective public high school skill programs and teacher or teacher teams.
Morton gained the inspiration to become a teacher from his mother, an educator. His background includes a career running his own business in painting and drywall before completing a teaching certification for trades and science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).
The Harbor Freight Tools for Schools Prize for Teaching Excellence began in 2017 and recognizes outstanding instruction in skilled trades in U.S. public high schools as well as teachers who inspire students to learn a trade that prepares them for life after graduation.