Cherry Creek Innovation Campus auto tech teacher wins $100,000 teaching prize


CENTENNIAL | Cherry Creek Innovation Campus teacher Brian Manley was one of two Colorado teachers given the 2020 Harbor Freight Tools for Schools Prize for Teaching Excellence, an annual prize for teachers of skilled trades.

Brian Manley

Manley, who teaches automotive technology, was told of the award at a surprise ceremony Wednesday morning, which came with $30,000 for the teacher and $70,000 for the Innovation Campus.

STEM School Highlands Ranch engineering teacher Mike Shallenberger was the second teacher awarded. 

“Trades teachers are educating and developing the tradespeople of the future,” Harbor Freight founder Eric Smidt said in a press release. “Many of the students in their classes today will become—as soon as next spring—the workers who keep our critical care infrastructure, our communication networks, our homes and cars up and running. The prize is our way of saying thank you to their teachers.”

This is Manley’s 26th year as a teacher, according to the release. He previously worked as an automobile technician, and is in the process of obtaining a doctoral degree focused on leadership for education equity.

“The saying that ‘every passion finds its destiny’ is one that I take to heart when working with my students, because they don’t know what they don’t know yet,” he wrote in the winning application. “It’s my pleasure and responsibility to help students become skilled, productive and happy people.”