Posted Date: 04/23/2021
October 15, 2020 — An Amarillo ISD educator is one of only 18 teachers across the nation to be named a winner of the 2020 Harbor Freight Tools for Schools Prize for Teaching Excellence. David Gibson, a machining teacher at Caprock High School, will receive a $50,000 reward, the entirety of which will go to the school’s skilled trades program.
The Harbor Freight Tools for Schools Prize for Teaching Excellence is a nationwide competition aimed at recognizing outstanding instruction in the skilled trades in U.S. public high schools and the teachers who inspire students to learn skills to prepare for life after graduation.
Gibson was a finalist for the same award in 2019.
“At Amarillo ISD, we can’t emphasize enough the importance of career and technical education to equip students with valuable skills that translate to college and career paths. David Gibson’s dedication to teaching the trades, and to his students, truly exemplifies the District’s mission to prepare our students for life and success beyond high school,” said Superintendent Doug Loomis. “Furthermore, we are answering the investment our teachers like David make in their students by prioritizing career and technical education through the new career academy which will welcome its first students next fall.”
Gibson developed a love for the trades while taking a machine shop class at his high school in 1971. Before becoming a teacher at CHS, he started his career working on aircraft and in oil fields, eventually earning an engineering degree and running his own manufacturing company.
He became a teacher as a way to give back to his community, developing his skills by working with other teachers at his school and groups like Titans of CNC, an advanced production facilities and education platform recognized and utilized by engineers, machinists, hobbyists, students and educators around the world. Throughout this time as an educator, Gibson has pursued further professional development, including completing a University of Texas course that covered distance learning shortly before the COVID-19 pandemic.
As an instructor, Gibson encourages his students to teach each other and work independently. They even run their own recruitment program for middle school students. Nine out of 10 of his students pursue further education after high school, whether two- or four-year college or apprenticeships and certifications.