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Ramona teacher earns national honor for skilled trade program

Nicholas Jordan
Posted at 9:03 PM, Oct 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-22 00:03:25-04

RAMONA, Calif. (KGTV) — A teacher in Ramona is getting national recognition for his contributions to skilled trade education.

Thursday, Montecito High School teacher, Nicholas Jordan, was awarded the 2021 Harbor Freight Tools for Schools Teaching Excellence award.

From plumbing and electrical to carpentry, Jordan's construction class teaches it all.

A carpenter by trade, Jordan started teaching the school's skilled trades program eight years ago.

"We are a continuation high school. These kids... this is kind of their last chance, and I was one of those kids," Jordan said.

Jordan has since elevated the program to new heights. They've earned first place in the national SkillsUSA carpentry and Teamworks competitions.

The program also partners with Swinerton Construction to provide students with apprenticeships in skilled trade careers, showing them a four-year degree is not the only path to success.

"They're going to have an apprenticeship for four years and be making potentially a hundred thousand dollars in four years and not have any students loans," he said.

It's Jordan's dedication to his students that earned him and the school $50,000.

"It's absolutely amazing. It's an honor," Jordan said.

His students also notice his excellent teaching.

"Mr. Jordan. He makes it an incredible experience. He makes it fun and we learn so much," Chance Kaufman said.

Jordan will take home $15,000 of the prize money. The remaining $35,000 will go towards building a state-of-the-art space for the program.

But even if students choose not to make construction into a career, Jordan said his ultimate goal is setting them up to be successful in the real world no matter which path they take.

"Looking people in the eye when they talk to you... it's those kinds of things that I want to instill in these students to be successful in life," Jordan said.

Jordan was one of 18 winners selected across the country for the Harbor Freight Tools Teaching Excellence award.