In addition to teaching English full-time at Magnolia High School in Anaheim, California, Kelly has an extensive background in secondary literacy education. He served as the English Coordinator for the Anaheim Union High School District, an urban district comprised of 37,000 secondary students; a Co-Director of the South Basin Writing Project at California State University Long Beach; and an adjunct professor at California State University, Fullerton, where he taught secondary literacy courses.
Kelly is a teacher and a former statewide trainer for the Puente Project, a University of California outreach program that prepares under-represented high school students for successful transition into universities. He has also served as a teacher leader in the California Reading and Literature Project, both at the University of California Los Angeles and University of California Irvine.
Kelly is the author of Reading Reasons: Motivational Mini-Lessons for Middle and High School (Stenhouse 2003), Deeper Reading: Comprehending Challenging Texts, 4-12 (Stenhouse 2004), Teaching Adolescent Writers (Stenhouse 2006), and, most recently, Write Like This: Teaching Real-World Writing Through Modeling and Mentor Texts (Stenhouse 2011). His most notable book—Readicide: How Schools Are Killing Reading and What You Can Do About It (Stenhouse 2009)—has served to change the way reading is being taught in schools around the world.
Kelly's work is also the subject of four professional videos: Article of the Week (Stenhouse, July 2009), Improving Adolescent Writers (Stenhouse 2009), Building Adolescent Readers (Stenhouse 2005), and Twenty Questions Homework (Stenhouse 2006). In addition to his publications, Kelly travels extensively speaking to education professionals and providing professional development workshops.
In 2005, Kelly received the Award for Classroom Excellence by the California Association of Teachers of English, the state's highest honor for English teachers.
Outside of his work with his students and other educators, Kelly loves catching a baseball game, hiking or spending time with his family at home in California.