I offer a highly-specialized coaching program!

About Me

I am Cole Shafer-Ray, a 20 year-old from Norman, Oklahoma.

Some traits that could describe me: enthusiastic, perfectionist, thorough, competitive, driven, and focused on excellence.

I am extremely passionate about spelling.  I was a three-time participant in the Scripps National Spelling Bee, written test perfect-score recipient, and runner-up in 2015.

I’ve been involved with spelling bees for the past eleven years, so I understand how the whole spelling bee system works, down to the finest detail.

Each year, I work with a small number of highly committed students looking to become elite at the craft of competitive spelling. Most of my students reach the Finals of the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Since 2022, six students have placed in the Top 5 or higher at Scripps.

I am extremely committed to taking my students to the next level. If you are passionate about words & ready to do what it takes to be a champion, consider applying to the program.

Here’s me and featured in a commercial for WordPress:

Personalized Tutoring

I offer an hour-long diagnostic session (free of charge) before beginning to conduct lessons. This way, I can analyze your strengths and weaknesses and develop a personalized plan for you, and you have the opportunity to decide if you want to proceed with lessons. During this diagnostic, I will quiz a little more and teach a little less than in an average lesson so I can be more efficient and have a better idea of your level by the end of the hour. If you decide you want to continue with lessons, here is how it will work:

  • Lessons are held over Zoom. During lessons, the student will be quizzed over the information from the past week’s assignment as well as new information related to the assignment.
  • Lessons will almost always stress language patterns, rules, and roots more than rote list memorization. Any incorrect answers given by the student will be thoroughly explained and bad habits will be corrected.
  • There will be assignments to complete in between every lesson. The assignments are based on the curriculum determined by the personalized plan. They usually include (but aren’t limited to) at least one each of the following: a spelling list to master, a vocabulary quiz, an exercise that stresses root knowledge, and the student’s misspelled/incorrectly defined words and roots from the last lesson.
  • Once a personalized plan is determined, the majority of my students use an organized computer program to study their assigned list(s). This is the preferred method of study, but every student is different. The assignments are structured so that the student will complete the curriculum outlined by their plan by the time the bee comes.
  • For vocabulary and root study, most students use
  • I analyze my students’ missed words to reveal the student’s weak spots in spelling, vocabulary, and root knowledge.  This allows me to gear my assignments toward strengthening them specifically and efficiently.
  • I have my students complete questionnaires and/or evaluations every couple months to get a detailed and current picture of their mentality, study methods, learning styles, time management strategies, daily habits, personal concerns, what they enjoy about spelling, and what makes them click. I analyze this in order to nurture their good habits and diagnose and fix the bad ones.  This helps them tackle one of the hardest parts of becoming an elite speller: gaining control over their will—staying focused, disciplined, and consistent at all times, good ones and bad ones alike.

The ultimate goal of my students should be to advance into the final rounds of the national competition, but I accept students of any level. You will not find a more effective tutor!


If your child is passionate about spelling and interested in joining the program, send me an email at drcolesr (at) Please include the speller’s name, the speller’s bee experience, and the name of a parent. If you are not immediately offered a spot, you will be put on the waiting list. I look forward to hearing from you!

UPDATE: My coaching program is currently full. If you would like to reserve a place on the waiting list for a future spot in the program, please email me at coleshaferray (at)