Faces in the crowd: Ray McMahon | SierraSun.com
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Faces in the crowd: Ray McMahon

Amanda Butler, Sierra Sun

Name: Ray McMahon

Age: 71

Occupation: Teacher

Place of birth: Oakland, Calif.

Moved to Truckee: 1991

If you’ve gotten a traffic ticket recently, you might have met Ray McMahon.

McMahon, 71, teaches traffic school at Tahoe-Truckee High School.

But traffic school isn’t McMahon’s only teaching job. He also teaches high school algebra and driver’s education at Prosser Creek Charter School (PCCS).

“I just teach the indoor portion of driver’s ed; teaching the driving part can make you old real fast,” said McMahon.

McMahon and his wife of 48 years, Bonnie, moved to Truckee after retiring in 1991.

“I was tired of big cities, I taught in San Jose for 30 years,” said McMahon. “We wanted to move somewhere that had three things: fishing, a hospital and a church. Truckee had them all.”

McMahon got back into teaching after a student in one of his traffic classes suggested he look into the new charter school.

“It’s a pretty bizarre story … a woman who lives near me in Glenshire knocked over my mailbox. When she took traffic class she came up to me after class and said, ‘you are an excellent teacher,'” said McMahon.

After the woman told him about PCCS, he followed up and started teaching algebra there a few days a week.

“I like working at (PCCS). It’s part-time and doesn’t interfere with fishing too much.”

McMahon says teaching is a rewarding experience.

“I get a lot of satisfaction from teaching. You get to meet so many different types of kids, some good … others not so good.”

McMahon smiles as he thinks about his past pupils.

“You know, I taught Steve Jobs, the guy who started Apple Computer.”

But McMahon didn’t start off his career teaching.

He served two years as a military police officer in the Army during the Korean War, and then decided to attend college.

After graduating from San Jose State University, McMahon went into law enforcement and spent three years as a police officer in San Jose.

McMahon spent the next years of his life raising four children with his wife, Bonnie.

“(Bonnie) is great, we do everything together,” said McMahon.

McMahon looks forward to spending the rest of his years in Truckee.

If you haven’t met McMahon yet, just give it time.

“I always tell people if I don’t see you around, maybe I’ll see you in traffic school,” said McMahon.


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