Salt Lake City teacher Rick Kelson exchanged his successful and fast-paced career in the stock exchange to pursue his life’s calling–helping students find a passion for learning.
In front of an auditorium filled with rambunctious Horizon Huskies, fifth-grade math teacher Rick Kelson received a delightful surprise: a $250 award for his excellence in teaching and a $50 gift card to dinner and a movie.
The award–the Supplies for Success Teaching Award–came from local law firm Christensen & Hymas and recognizes Mr. Kelson’s ability to help students learn and love a subject most adults still fear—math.
“Rick Kelson is one of Horizon Elementary School’s shining stars,” Principal Heather Nicholas says. “He has worked exceptionally hard to serve as a teacher who is friendly, personable, and knows his students academically and on a personal level. The students Rick works with feel respected, appreciated, and valued for their differences.”
Running Elementary Stock Markets
A former Zion’s Bank employee who worked on the stock exchange floor, Mr. Kelson has brought an exciting new edge and practicability to elementary math.
Each year Mr. Kelson’s students participate in the statewide Stock Market Game, where they enter real-world situations and get to research, trade, sell, and buy stocks. Last year, one of Mr. Kelson’s teams placed in the top three elementary teams; and currently, Mr. Kelson has teams holding strong in both 1st and 3rd place.
In addition to injecting his classroom with a little lively energy, Mr. Kelson knows how to simplify even the most complex ideas to help his students succeed.
On a recent statewide core math test, Mr. Kelson’s students tested 74% proficient—that’s more than double the state average. Even with the statewide frustration that came with switching to the common core, Mr. Kelson has been able to keep his students on track and has built a strong foundation for their future learning success.
Getting Involved in Unexpected Ways
Mr. Kelson is a fun, outgoing teacher who is not afraid to get involved and try new things. He serves as a member of Horizon Elementary’s Building Leadership Team and as a member of the School Community Council. Two years ago Mr. Kelson “even volunteered for the [school’s] bell choir, even though he doesn’t have any music skills,” says his father, Ross Kelson.
In addition to his outgoing attitude and zeal for teaching, Mr. Kelson knows how to keep his classroom well managed.
“He has such outstanding classroom management skills that during his first year he didn’t send even one student to the office for discipline,” says Ross Kelson. “This has to be a first in the known universe.”
Mr. Kelson goes above and beyond what is expected of him as a teacher to get involved and give his students every opportunity for future success.
Supplies for Success Teaching Award
The Supplies for Success Teaching Award is a monthly award presented by Christensen & Hymas to help recognize exceptional teachers and offset their out-of-pocket expenses on school supplies.
To nominate a teacher for the Supplies for Success Teaching Award, visit www.admin.christensenhymas.com/supplies-for-success.