Brendan Malone has been a marine trades teacher for 17 years. Prior to entering teaching, he ran his own marine systems company for 15 years, then worked at New York City’s South Street Seaport Museum as a shipwright and the waterfront foreman, entrusted with heading up the maintenance and restoration of the museum’s fleet of historic vessels.
Malone’s own experiences as a marine trades student inform his teaching. He attended The Sound School in New Haven, CT, a marine trades high school that fostered in him a love of boats and the confidence that comes from mastery of real-world skills. Malone says of this experience, “I acquired not only technical skills that made me employable, but also the confidence that I could find a solution to just about any problem, if I really applied myself. I am a certified Marine Systems Technician with a hundred-ton United States Coast Guard Captain’s license, but more important than any license or certification are the experiences and skills that our program at Harbor School can pass on to empower students.”
The Marine Systems Technology program at the Urban Assembly New York Harbor School prepares students to work in a career building, maintaining, and repairing boats. Students in the program must demonstrate mastery across a broad field of trades: woodworking, engine maintenance, metalworking and welding, composites, electrical, plumbing and sanitation, heating and cooling, among others.
Jonathan Schwartz teaches math, engineering, and computer-integrated manufacturing at Colfax High School. After years of owning his own construction company, he began teaching math at Colfax. When he learned that the woodshop teacher was retiring and the shop was in danger of closing, he took over the construction program because he knew the value of hands-on learning. When the drafting program faced the same fate, he took over those classes and created a new program that combined drafting, woodshop, and advanced manufacturing. Under his leadership, the program has flourished, and is now known as Pre-Engineering.
Schwartz’s students use software to design wood projects, then build those projects with traditional shop tools, CNC equipment, 3D printers, and laser cutters. In this program, students start with an introduction to design and building, then complete an engineering class where they design wood products and build them in the shop. The third course is Computer Integrated Manufacturing, where students use computer controlled machines to design and build projects — again, all in wood. In their final capstone course, his students work with a mentor, pick a large project and spend the year building it. These classes articulate seamlessly with those offered at the local community college.