A devoted educator whose colleagues say he regularly goes above and beyond for his students was named Teacher of the Year on Thursday at Shandon Unified School District.
Ray Jellison, 54, has been a math teacher with the small North County district for four years.
Colleagues praised Jellison for, among many notable characteristics, his commitment to teaching in Shandon — nearly 170 miles from his central California home in Mariposa.
Jellison travels to Shandon each week to teach and then returns home to Mariposa on weekends.
“He’s really dedicated,” district librarian Jeanne Stuart said. “He’s here long hours at night, going over homework and assignments — he really wants these guys to learn.”
Jellison also teaches high school physics every other year, as well as STEM courses, and has served as a class adviser and a K-12 math curriculum coordinator.
“Ray tutors students after school on his own time and can be seen at most Shandon High School activities cheering students on,” said Teresa Taylor, the district’s superintendent and Shandon High School principal. “He has very high expectations of his students while providing extensive support for them.”
This is Jellison’s last year with the district, officials said, as he resigned to spend more time with family.
Martha Soto, a paraeducator at Shandon Elementary School, was also honored this week. She was named the district’s Classified Employee of the Year. Soto, 42, assists kindergarten classes and runs the school’s math and writing center. On Wednesday, she said she loves helping teachers and students.