Riverside County & California Teacher of the Year
Ethan A. Chase Middle School
Romoland School District
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.