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Apex Instructor Shannon Wright: Teaching Chose Me

Apex Technical School Construction & Building Skills Trade Instructor Shannon Wright Finds Success in Conveying Knowledge and Skills to the Next Generation

Shannon Wright didn’t envision herself as a teacher.

“The teaching career chose me,” she says.

Shannon joined Apex Technical School in 2022 following several years as an instructor at another trade school. Her experience included 11 years as a field electrician in New York City, where she began as an apprentice and worked her way up to journeyperson. 

An Indirect Route

A Native New Yorker, Shannon was living in Arizona when she became interested in the possibilities of electrical work during an ordinary activity – cable television installation.

“As I ended up helping the technician, I thought, could I do this? It’s 2008, why not?”

Eventually, Shannon moved back to the city and enrolled in courses at Non-Traditional Employment for Women, which is dedicated to training and placing women in careers in the construction trades.

As a field electrician, she worked on significant projects throughout New York City.

“I saw spaces that most people never see,” Shannon recalls with pride.

Projects that she worked on included the World Trade Center’s vehicular security center, LaGuardia Airport, John F. Kennedy International Airport, Rockefeller Center as well as projects for Google, Live Nation, and New York University.

Seeking Something More

Although Shannon worked for the city’s Department of Education and considered becoming a guidance counselor earlier in her career, it wasn’t until a recruiter reached out to her online that she began to seriously consider becoming an educator.

As in field work, Shannon learned the craft of instruction by doing.

“I learned to read the room for each class” she explains. “Not every class has the same needs, so I like to take a creative approach that also ensures the students learn what is required for them gain entry level positions in the trade.”

Shannon prides herself on being a thorough and no-nonsense instructor. Her contracting class simulates real-world scenarios in which students have a budget and must plan their purchases and installations.

“This teaches them about costs, how to run a business, and they realize what a project costs,” she says.

She also uses crossword or word search puzzles to help students learn the industry vernacular.

“I make an effort to reach out to all of my students – who are all adults but at different ages and capabilities – some learn better by studying diagrams, some work best with videos, and others do best with reading,” she says. “I combine all of these to reach everyone.”

Thumbnail of Shannon Wright surrounded by her construction students in the shop at Apex Technical School

Flipping the Switch

Shannon finds great joy in seeing her students learn and begin applying their skills – both in everyday situations as well as starting sustainable careers.

One student proudly shared with her that he was the hero of his girlfriend’s house after he was able to fix an electrical problem thanks to his training.

Some students have gone on to become traveling electricians.

“One of the students who keeps in touch with me had been previously incarcerated,” she shares. “Our electrician training enabled him to turn his life completely around. He’s now been to 12 states to work on electrical projects, makes good money, and he continues to keep in touch.”

A student in Shannon Wright's Construction class wires a residential electrical box

Experience Is the Best Teacher

Shannon emphasizes to her students that they must be focused and disciplined in their studies – skills that also will serve them well in the field.

As an experienced field electrician, Shannon is also well poised to advise her students on how to achieve success once they’ve entered the field.

“Learn your trade. Ask questions. Protect your feet!” she insists. 

Shannon also advises that the non-technical side of being part of the electrician community is also valuable to those starting out.

“Go to your union meetings, learn about networking and being involved in your union,” she says.

For those considering life after field work, Shannon notes that her work at Apex also enables her to continuously develop her skills as an educator.

“Apex has a wonderful environment,” she says with pride. “There is support for both students and staff; it’s very refreshing! What’s wonderful is I can be myself here. I love that I am able to be Shannon.”

Are you curious about becoming an instructor? Apex Technical School is interested in meeting experienced tradespeople for instructor opportunities. Visit our careers page (for current openings) or contact us 212-645-3300.

*Apex Technical School and its instructors are licensed by the State of New York, New York State Education Department.

Disclaimer: Apex Technical School provides training for entry-level jobs. Not everything you may read about the industry is covered in our training programs.