“I love to see kids succeed and create an interest in something they may have not been exposed to in the past. Students tend not to know where their academic classes are going to come into play in their life and in my class they get to apply it in real-life scenarios in the classroom and the shop.”

Jeremy Tarbet is an automotive teacher at Canyon del Oro High School – a path he can trace back to his passion for restoring muscle cars and selling restoration parts to help support himself in high school and college. Tarbet was working in industry after college when the opportunity arose to become the automotive teacher at his alma mater, and as soon as he began, he knew he belonged in the classroom. Tarbet has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and also completed the Teachers in Industry Master’s program at University of Arizona, which included three summers of a hands-on internship with a focus on science, technology, engineering, and math. Tarbet strives to connect STEM techniques and strategies to his automotive content and prepare his students for career and college pathways.

Tarbet teaches students how to address a wide array of mechanical issues and designs his courses to give students the opportunity to master practical job skills and procedures. The automotive program offers students a four-year scope and sequence to industry and career readiness, offering OSHA 10 certification, SP2 safety certification, Valvoline Oil certification, SP2 welding, NGK Spark Plug and Sensor certification, MACS A/C certification, and ASE Student certifications. Tarbet’s students are also dual-enrolled with Pima Community College and earn nine credits in the Automotive Technology Associate of Applied Science program. The sequence prepares students to make decisions about their future, equipping them to directly enter industry with their certifications or to pursue college.

Tarbet’s students work on customer vehicles and get to showcase not only their technical skills but also their leadership, correctly and efficiently completing projects and engaging with customers. Customers are routinely amazed at the timeliness of the process and the skill of the students, who range from freshmen to seniors. Those skills learned in the shop continue to benefit Tarbet’s students long after they graduate; they have gone on to become construction workers, aviation technicians, doctors, lawyers, retail salespeople, and to serve in the military. They cite the skills learned in Tarbet’s class as key experience in preparing them for their careers across all industries.

Tarbet continues to be motivated by his students’ successes and strives to prepare them for whatever path they choose through the integration of STEM techniques into his academic content and hands-on applications. He loves seeing his students succeed and find interest in skills they may not have been exposed to in the past – in his class, they can see how their learning applies to real-life scenarios. To set his students up for success, he regularly seeks feedback on what local professionals in the industry are seeking in employees entering the evolving automotive field. Tarbet is extremely passionate about the value of skilled trades education and the versatility and opportunities open to students who participate in skilled trades programs.

Tarbet previously was a finalist for the 2019, 2020, and 2021 Harbor Freight Tools for Schools Prize for Teaching Excellence.

“One of the biggest satisfactions I get from teaching is the relationships you make with the students and how the class gives the students the opportunity to better themselves in their personal lives and their professional lives.”