Shaun Bunn

Shaun Bunn

Riverside County & California Teacher of the Year

Ethan A. Chase Middle School
Romoland School District


“This moment is for my family who has always been my shelter during the thunderstorm. It’s for my Romoland family that believes in and guides me to bring the best out of all students. This honor is for every child that walks through our classroom doors that now has a chance to be successful in life and realize their fullest potential. I am thankful to the CATOY and RCOE for choosing me to represent all amazing teachers. Thank you to my “work mom”, Isabel Soliz. You loved me when I’ve been up, but, more importantly, you’ve loved me when I’ve been down. You are a friend and a mentor for me. To my mother, Moy Bunn, who has given me the strength to fight every single day to be who I want to be and to give me the courage to dream that this dream is happening and possible for me.”


As a refugee from Cambodia, many of Shaun Bunn’s childhood experiences provide for a deeper connection with students in his classroom who struggle with learning English, not knowing where the next meal will come from, and feeling lost in a foreign culture. Shaun’s traumatic childhood also provided a basis for becoming a math teacher. Supporting his family by collecting cans and plastics to recycle led to Shaun quickly grasping math concepts that would one day lead to becoming a 2017 California Teacher of the Year—an honor bestowed to only four individuals out of the 300,000 teachers in the state. Shaun describes his philosophy of education as “teaching people first before the subject matter” and refers to the profession itself as “a daily miracle.” The Bunnzy Awards—his annual take on the Academy Awards that celebrates student success in algebra—attracts more than 500 attendees each year and features everything from red carpet arrivals and trophies to acceptance speeches and dress to impress student appearances.