National University Alumnus Named 2016-2017 California Teacher of the Year

Shaun Bunn, a graduate of the Sanford College of Education, is among five educators honored for their exceptional dedication and inspirational teaching

National University alumnus Shaun Bunn (Master of Arts in Teaching, 2010), a Mathematics teacher at Ethan Chase Middle School in Menifee, California, is among five educators statewide who have been named 2016-2017 California Teacher of the Year. The prestigious designation honors exceptional teachers and highlights educational innovation, student learning, and the rewards of teaching while attracting public attention to the positive aspects of California’s educational system.

Bunn is the 15th alum of National University’s Sanford College of Education to receive the state’s highest honor for teachers, and is the 5th to be named Riverside County Teacher of the Year. Mr. Bunn, who was recognized in May as a 2016-2017 Riverside County Teacher of the Year, has worked at Chase Middle School since it opened in 2013. He has served as a teacher with the Romoland School District for 11 years.

“He is the type of person that gives tirelessly and never expects anything in return,” said Romoland School District Superintendent Julie A. Vitale. “He is honest, kind, easy to work with, and friendly. He has the desire to have a meaningful impact in the lives of students.”

The graduate of National University and its Sanford College of Education is originally from Cambodia. According to an article in the Riverside Press-Enterprise, Mr. Bunn was exposed to significant hardship at a young age when his family fled his homeland, wandering through mine fields and spending two-and-a-half years in a refugee camp in Thailand before coming to the United States.

“I share those experiences in class because I believe it helps to humanize me,” said Bunn. “About 35 percent of my students are from a low socio-economic background. Many come from Mexico, and I think those young people appreciate that we have something in common. I want them to know that difficult times aren’t permanent. Things can get better.”

Bunn said that his philosophy of teaching starts with love and a true passion for the lives of his students. “And in order for that to happen you have to be genuinely true to who you are and what you expect from your students,” he wrote in a prepared statement

Each year, the California Department of Education invites county offices of education, school districts, charter schools, professional organizations, and private schools statewide to participate in the California Teachers of the Year Program, a process that culminates in the National Teachers of the Year program.

To read more about this year’s regional Teachers of the Year who are National University graduates:

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