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Our Visit to a State of the Art School in Colorado


Our Visit to a State of the Art School in Colorado

One of the goals of Harbor Freight Tools for Schools is to highlight excellence in high school skilled trades education. In May, Bob Kilmer and Scott Springer, educator advisors at Harbor Freight Tools for Schools, had the chance to visit Cherry Creek Innovation Campus in Centennial, Colorado.

Opened in August 2019, Cherry Creek Innovation Campus is a public high school program focused on providing unique work-based learning experiences for students. The program offers training and education in designated career pathways, including advanced manufacturing, infrastructure engineering and transportation. The campus is part of the Cherry Creek School District, which is located in the southwest metropolitan area of Denver and serves about 55,000 students overall.

“The first word that comes to mind when you step into the facility at Cherry Creek is spectacular,’’ said Kilmer, who was visiting from Washington State. “The equipment is up to date and thoughtfully placed to maximize student workflow, engagement and hands-on learning. The adults working at this innovative campus are focused on providing students with real world experiences aimed at preparing them to be future-ready for the workplace or college.”

Kilmer and Springer made the trip to see the school and to catch-up with Brian Manley, a 2020 Grand Prize Winner of the Harbor Freight Tools for Schools Prize for Teaching Excellence. Manley teaches automotive technology at Cherry Creek Innovation Campus.

The Cherry Creek school district passed a $30 million dollar bond several years ago with the goal of building this center. Nine Career Technical Education lead teachers, including Manley, were involved with the architectural design, and curriculum implementation.

“I have never seen one building and CTE pathways elicit so much excitement in a community. It makes me proud and I am so excited for the future of our students.’’

-Brian Manley


Manley’s automotive program partners with local car dealerships to train students for entry level positions in the field. The dealerships donate vehicles for shop work for the students and support Brian’s advisory committee.

Springer lives in Denver and this was his third visit to the campus. “Working with Harbor Freight Tools for Schools has given me the opportunity to visit numerous schools throughout the country,’’ Springer said.

“The Cherry Creek Innovation Center, without a doubt, is one of the most state-of-the art facilities I have had the pleasure to visit.’’ -Scott Springer

Scott Springer and Bob Kilmer are education advisors with Harbor Freight Tools for Schools and have a combined 70 years of experience in the education field.