ron abel

Principal Ron Abel shares the fond times he has experienced at Eudora High School.

Principal Ron Abel can often be seen greeting students at the door, calling them by name and waving them on their way. Or he can be found at one of the school games, cheering on the teams as they make history. He might even be spotted organizing new vocational classes so students can figure out what their passions are. 

Wherever Abel is, he is thinking about his community and his school.

He’s worked in the district for 27 years, and this spring will be his last as he looks to retire.

“Forty years is a long time in education, and I’m looking forward to the other opportunities that will come in the future,” Abel said.

After graduating from Eudora High School in 1979, Abel attended Emporia State University and majored in industrial technology. His teaching career began in 1983 at Valley Heights High School before moving to Perry-Lecompton High School in 1985.

Abel returned to his alma mater in 1996 as a technology and drafting teacher. 

He was later encouraged by his colleagues to become a principal, so he pursued getting his administrative degree. He then became the assistant principal at EHS and the principal of the Eudora-De Soto Technical Education Center. 

By 2015, he was principal of the high school. 

For the last eight years, he has committed himself to the school and helping students thrive. During this time, he was also recognized as the Kansas Association of Secondary School Principals Area I Principal of the Year.

One of his biggest goals was to expand the career and technology pathways. When he started, there were only six or seven paths. Now there are 16 options for students to explore.

“All of our kids bring something to the table,” Abel said. “And helping them find what that is, those are the greatest experiences you can have as an educator.”

Former Superintendent Steve Splichal worked with Abel for seven years. Throughout that time, Splichal said Abel promoted a better culture within the school through his pride for the community and attention to the students. Splichal watched as Abel advanced the career and technology programs.

“It isn’t just about graduating with a diploma with Ron. It’s about can they graduate with a diploma plus an industry-recognized certificate?” Splichal said.

Abel said the goal of the programs is to help students consider different interests and learn new skills. It allows students to explore multiple career options before they are in college. 

“His vision and his work from a vocational standpoint is tremendous. There’s a lot of schools that would really love to have a program that he has helped to create at the high school,” Splichal said. “Our culinary program is taught by a chef. Those are the pieces that he’s put into play.” 

Abel’s favorite part of his job was helping his students find those interests and watching their success.

“Last year was a tremendous year from an extracurricular standpoint, what our kids were involved in and the accomplishments,” Abel said.

Abel applauded the Science Olympiad team for taking first in state for the past two years, as well as the achievements of the cross country, basketball and football teams. 

“I’ve always enjoyed watching our kids perform, because in those environments, typically they’re team-oriented and if you can be successful in a team environment, you can probably be successful in a lot of aspects in life,” he said.

Senior Sawyer Schreiner said Abel has been an upstanding principal every year of her education. 

“He’s just a supportive principal. He’s been great. I don’t have any complaints here,” she said.

Aryanna Jessup, a 2009 graduate, shared the same sentiment. Abel’s attentiveness as vice principal stuck with her even 14 years later. He would greet her in the hallway every single morning.

“He was the nicest, most down-to-earth person ever,” she said. “I see him all the time at the football games still.”

Abel said the time he spent as a teacher was one of the most impactful. He has always enjoyed interaction with the students. As an administrator, his job took a different standpoint.

“In the classroom and when you’re teaching and having those connections with kids on a daily basis, it’s completely different when you’re in an administrative position. But I also think that you can have a huge impact on the quality of the education the kids get as an administrator,” Abel said.

Business finance teacher Angie Brown has worked with Abel for 16 years. He was the assistant principal when she started, and her time at Eudora schools has been shaped by his leadership. 

“I came to Eudora because of something I saw in an interview with his style and leadership that really drew me in, 16 years ago, from Lawrence High School,” Brown said.

Brown said Abel has been a caring teacher and administrator since she started. He not only tried to make it a better environment for the students, but for the teachers as well. 

“You won’t find a person that cares more about Eudora High School than Ron Abel. He cares about his staff,” Brown said.

Assistant Principal Sean Hayden reflected on his own time with Abel. He emphasized the attitude Abel has shared with him. 

“He always checks on you, asks how your kids are doing. He cares about you as a human outside of work. In the job, he’s always got your back. He’s always a listening ear if you want to vent,” he said. 

After retirement, Abel plans to spend time with his four kids, grandchildren and 11 family members who are around the Eudora area. He also plans to continue his passion of woodworking, which he began in high school. 

Abel expects he will still be involved with the high school in some capacity. He shared a word of wisdom to the person who will fill in his shoes. 

“Believe in the people that are here working, because it is a tremendous staff,” he said. “They are very skilled at what they do. Be positive and believe they can accomplish great things, because they are and they do.”

Reach reporter Katie Hanney at

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