Steven Jackson

Principal, Aviation Career & Technical Education High School

Aviation High School is certified by the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for the training of Aircraft Maintenance Technicians (AMTs). Students who successfully complete the school’s technical programs are allowed to take their FAA certification examinations without further qualification.

In order to achieve this, students at the school spend about three to four periods every day in “shop,” technology related classes that concentrate on every aspect of an aircraft’s structure, systems, and components, as well as more general aviation subjects such as aerodynamics and Federal Aviation Regulations. These specialized classes are taught by FAA-certificated AMTs, many of whom are themselves alumni of the school.

1 Tell us about Aviation High School and what makes it such a special place?

Aviation High School is a New York City public high school that celebrates 84 years of success this school year!  The school offers students from all over the five boroughs the opportunity to devote approximately half their day working in rigorous hands-on aviation maintenance labs as they work on obtaining their airframe and/or powerplant Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) aviation maintenance technician licenses, as well as challenging academic coursework. All of which provide our students with many more opportunities upon graduation than traditional high schools, as they look to enter careers in aviation maintenance, aviation related careers, and engineering.

The entire staff, alumni, parents and aviation industry partners are very proud of the unique opportunities that our school has to offer the students. It is due to the rigorous practical skills that students work on each day, the close relationship the school has to the aviation industry and the dedication of all members of the school community that provides our students with learning experiences to ensure their success.

2 What are some of the most sought-after skills that your students are coming away with?

The number one factor that makes our graduates so sought-after is the fact that our high school students (ranging in ages from 14 through 19) can earn both their airframe and powerplant licenses through our Part 147 Aviation Maintenance Technician School FAA program over the course of five years. This program is typically taught at the college and post-secondary technical school level. Aviation High School is proud to provide over 2,000 students with the opportunity to earn their licenses for free through the New York City public school system.

With that being said, our aviation maintenance instructors work closely with our students in three to four period aviation maintenance shop classes working on such skills as troubleshooting aircraft systems, proper use of tools and learning hands-on with the support of our industry partners and on-site aviation equipment and aircraft to understand how to effectively meet the demands of the aviation maintenance technician field. 

3 With coming aviation workforce shortages, what message do we need to get out to the next generation now?

Aviation High School is working closely with the aviation community to provide students and parents with a better understanding of aviation industry needs of the near and long-term future. We are very fortunate to have representatives from airlines, manufacturers and MROs speak to our students on a regular basis about the many opportunities available to them upon graduation. We believe that by working closely together with our aviation industry partners in such ways we can continue to educate our students about the exciting career opportunities that are becoming available to them in this new job market!

Each year we receive more than 4,000 applications for approximately 500 ninth grade seats and it takes everyone in our school community to provide the quality education that we are known for and to help us meet our mission of training and educating students for the 21st century aviation and related career fields. We receive visitors from various parts of the country who are looking to develop similar programs for their communities and if these programs continue to develop and expand, the pool of qualified skilled workers should expand, but it is important for programs like ours to work closely with industry partners, political leaders, the FAA and educational organizations such as ATEC to ensure that we are able to provide the qualified candidates ready to take on the challenges of the aviation maintenance technician and related career fields.

4 What can the airport community do to support these students?

Aviation High School’s extracurricular offerings provide many clubs and organizations for our students to be a part of and we are very proud of the many ways our organizations support the airport community. Members of the airport community can contact the school at to request support from any of our clubs and we would be happy to participate! 

The most pressing school organization and club need is typically the financial and transportation support that will enable our students to travel to and from the airport with all the gear and items needed to present at the various events they participate in. 

Unfortunately, New York City funds do not cover the operation expenses of our extracurricular organizations, and this is why we are very fortunate to have the Metropolitan Airport News’ coordinating support for our students and school! 

We would like to take this opportunity to thank the Metropolitan Airport News and its loyal advertisers for raising funds from advisement sales for the December publication to donate to our JFK Airport Annex classroom! Support such as these types of donations also help us to improve our students’ learning experiences which enables us to meet the job skill demands that our industry partners are looking for in future aviation maintenance technicians. We are very fortunate and thankful for everyone’s support of the Metropolitan Airport News’ Aviation High School fundraising drive!

Should any of your readers like to make a direct donation they can also email us at

5 What are you most proud of when you think about your school, faculty, and students?

When I reflect upon the twenty years I have been a member of the Aviation High School family I am most proud of all the dedication that each member of our community provides to the educational needs of our students. Each day our teachers arrive early before school starts and leave long after the end of their day to plan engaging lessons that will help all their students think and work through the challenging concepts and tasks they are presented with each day. It must also be stated that our teachers volunteer to tutor students or help them with their practical work when they are not teaching and they volunteer to oversee the many clubs and organizations on their free time after school and on weekends. Everyone in our school is very dedicated to ensuring that our students are provided with a welcoming, safe and supportive environment where they can work on becoming their best selves and successful adults!

I am very proud to be able to work with such hardworking, kind, and thoughtful students and their parents. The students never cease to amaze me as they work through long days of academic and aviation maintenance coursework with a smile on their face, competitive grades, and a desire to improve their future and their school community. We are very fortunate to work with parents and guardians who support their children throughout the long days and weeks that it takes each year to make sure their children are on the path to earn their airframe and powerplant licenses.

Additionally, I am proud of the dedication that our alumni and industry partners provide to the continued growth and success of Aviation High School. We are fortunate to have the support of alumni who work in various aspects of the aviation industry or other career fields who are always looking to help current students learn about the world after high school and enhance their skills to ensure they are the most sought-after high school graduates in the city of New York!

Overall, Aviation High School is a uniquely successful aviation maintenance technician high school due to the dedication our students, parents, staff, alumni, aviation industry partners and airport community (including the Metropolitan Airport News!) provide to our school each year, and I am most proud of and thankful for everyone who comprises this wonderful community.

Metropolitan Airport News recently donated $6,300 to the Aviation High School Annex 5th Program, click here to read more about this event, and the success of our Charitable Giving Program.


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