IYRS School of Technology and Trades Invites Nominations and Applications for the Position of President



IYRS School of Technology and Trades (IYRS) invites nominations and applications for the position of president.

This is an extraordinary opportunity to strengthen and grow a unique technology and trade school that produces exceptional outcomes for its students. IYRS is valued by students for its hands-on team-based learning model and sought out by employers for its highly skilled graduates. Over the last fifteen years, IYRS has grown from one program in boat building and restoration with a dozen students to four varied, accredited and complementary programs with approximately 90 to 100 students located in historic and beautiful Newport, Rhode Island. The school has made significant investments recently to consolidate and expand its campus on the Newport waterfront. With its current facilities, it has the capacity to almost double its student population and add other programs.

With the newly unified and updated campus as a canvas, the next president will have the opportunity to identify the right mix of academic programs, grow enrollment, expand connections to employers and the community, continue to develop the board and maintain and build philanthropic support. The president will benefit from IYRS’ highly engaged board and its location in a town and in a state that values and supports technology and trade education. The next president should bring leadership, marketing and management experience to an innovative and complex institution, a passion for experiential education, an entrepreneurial spirit and a commitment to the mission of IYRS to prepare students to enter the global maker and manufacturing workforce.

Sheryl Ash is leading this search with Allison Burson.

IYRS is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Interview with Terry Nathan, President of IYRS
April 17, 2018

How does a boat building school become a place to learn making almost anything?

The need to become economically self-sustaining and the realization that our learning model in our original boatbuilding and restoration program was applicable to learning to build almost anything, regardless of the material.  If you think about boats, they are a great metaphor for building almost anything: they are complex shapes, and they live in very hostile environments in which materials and systems are always breaking down.  These factors really test everything, including those building and maintaining them.

How do you measure your success as a school?

Mostly by our graduate outcomes.  We have a gold star standard with 85%-95% of grads getting jobs on or about the time they complete their IYRS experience.  More recently, it has become apparent that while we are still an early growth stage operation, overall organizational health and expanding our donor base are also critical factors for continued progress.  We have an exceptional Board of Trustees, who have funded our progress and added wonderful intellectual horsepower.

Where do IYRS grads go now a days?

It’s extraordinary, the diversity of careers and post-grad jobs.  We have two primary paths: marine trades and technology-based advanced manufacturing.  In the former, IYRS grads work all over the marine industry, including modern manufacturers, restoration yards, on yachts, in service companies, and on races teams — both shoreside and as crew.  They work at Autodesk, subs for Space X, in small innovative design and production firms and for manufacturers of all kinds of composite and carbon fiber components.  Still others go on to more school in engineering, technology, and industrial design.

An IYRS graduate served as the Composites Lead on the Stevens Institute of Technology SURE House, a 2015 U.S Solar Decathlon winning entry.

What’s the thread that binds all these programs?

Making stuff.  Doing it at a very high level and building skills associated with problem-solving and critical thinking associated with make, build, repair and maintenance issues.  We also go deep into career skills.  You not only have to be able to work with people to be successful, you have to help get the best from you and your team members.

What does IYRS look like in 2020?

A collection of activities and revenue streams all bound together by making and building with the widest array of tools from traditional to technology-based.  There are intense full-time programs, part-time programs and mobile platforms for taking IYRS to others, especially companies.  All of these activities are built on the learning model: in most cases, you have to build something. You’ll likely also see a lot of interaction among students across programs and some projects with other schools and industry partners.

IYRS’ 3-acre waterfront campus in downtown Newport, Rhode Island

Who comes to IYRS?

It is hard to reduce to a demographic answer.  Let’s just say that we see a lot of people with deep passion for working and thinking through their hands or through the use of technology.  They have a passion that cannot be rationalized.  Then, there are many who just have to be at IYRS; the environment is so very compelling.  Most want to spend their lives working at this stuff, making a living, and they range in age from high school grads to second and third career people — mostly between 18 and 40.  Men and women.  Vets.

How do you account for your exceptional placement rate?

Levering our employer stories with other employers and building awareness of the quality of our graduates.  Employers want to invest in our graduates because they are ready to make immediate contributions and are wired to keep learning on the job.


IYRS in 60 Seconds

What is this IYRS experience?

Take a historic community with a history rich in boats and buildings; build a school on the waterfront in extraordinary historic buildings; and open the place to the public.  That’s for starters.  Then create a community of students and alum who share a unique, immersive learning experience with projects that they do from start to (celebrating) the finish.  Give them time to learn; make mistakes; test their own limits, as well as that of materials, tools, and methods.  That in sum is the secret sauce.

You rarely hear about school start ups.  Why is that, and how would a place like IYRS compete in such a huge fragmented marketplace that education is today?

It’s crazy complicated and expensive to start a school from scratch, and I believe if the current learning paradigms were not failing, there would even be less start-up schools.  All the compliance, regulatory overhead from accrediting bodies and the state and federal governments, not to mention the service component that students need — we have not even accounted for the learning experience yet.  Very expensive and requires scale.  Unless, that is, you come up with a different model, and I think IYRS is in the middle of exploring that alt-path.  It is exciting, disruptive, and not for everyone.  It’s not tidy, but with so much at stake, and the rapid changes in how technology can be part of a learning equation, wow, it is really compelling.

How does the next leader puts his or her mark on this unique place?

Great question.  We have done a lot in the past decade to build capacity and test our learning model.  They both are ready for through-put.  By our calculations, the school has the capacity now to become self-sustainable, and importantly, continue to envision a future beyond its core programs and delivery methods now.  That said, the future is also about maintaining really powerful outcomes for our graduates.  That remains the key metric.

Restoration Hall at IYRS