Teacher of the Week: Dan Silin of Tamalpais High School


In Marin County, students at Tamalpais High have the option of delving into a program that can lead to a learning trade.

Dan Silin teaches the kind of class you don’t see as much in high schools these days. 

He says that’s too bad, especially since the skills he’s teaching are in very high demand. 

It’s not that Dan expects all his students to become master technicians, but he does want those who enjoy working on cars to have the option of getting paid for it. 

He teaches at Tamalpais High in Mill Valley, at a campus that’s had an auto tech program since 1914. 

Dan figures some things haven’t changed, rolling up your sleeves and figuring out how things work can be fun, and give kids a sense of accomplishment. 

“I want them to get interested and enjoy the work. Add to a little pat on the back, ‘good job,’ you can tell that the kids’ pride has gone up,” he said. 

The subject matter in here, things like “cranking” and “charging”, “ignition” and “injection,” and everyone can see that Dan knows his stuff. 

“He’s funny. He knows a lot. He has a bunch of experience,” one student said. 

“He proudly shows his ASC certification, which is a really high level of certification. So we know, we know he’s the real deal,” another student said. 

“I’m learning in a very structured way where everything goes and how it works,” another student added.

At their tech shop among among others at Mercedes Benz Marin, there’s a huge need for qualified technicians. 

They’re getting harder to find. 

“And they’re using the term ‘desperate.’ Desperate need for young people to become technicians,” Dan said. 

Dan says he’s proud to offer students the option of going for a challenging and high-paying career, one that doesn’t necessarily involve a four-year college degree.

As to salary potential, Dan is only half kidding when he says you’d actually be able to afford a house in Marin. 

If you know a special teacher you’d like to nominate, click here. 



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