Van Boxtel won a total of $50,000, including $15,000 for himself and $35,000 for his program.

KAUKAUNA — Dan Van Boxtel, a Kaukauna High School automotive technology teacher, was named a winner today of the Harbor Freight Tools for Schools Prize for Teaching Excellence.

Van Boxtel won a total of $50,000, including $15,000 for himself and $35,000 for his program.

A total of $1.25 million is being awarded to 20 high school skilled trades teachers in 15 states.

“We are so proud of you, Dan, and thank you for your service to our students,” read a social media post from the Kaukauna School District.

Van Boxtel was named a finalist in June.

In 2014, Harbor Freight Tools CEO, founder and owner Eric Smidt kicked off a philanthropic project called Harbor Freight Tools for Schools by donating $1.4 million in tools and equipment to Los Angeles Unified School District.

For the next two years, the Harbor Freight Tools for Schools team listened and learned from the people who know skilled trades education best—teachers.

After conducting a focus group with teachers, hosting an advisor session with educators and other experts, and surveying hundreds of trades teachers nationwide, Harbor Freight Tools for Schools evolved its purpose: to advance excellent skilled trades education in public high schools across America.

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By Dan Plutchak

Dan Plutchak, born and raised in Kaukauna, is cofounder of Kaukauna Community News.