Dick Powers poses with his last year of second graders.

Patience, a sense of humor and flexibility are the secret to teaching second grade, teacher Dick Powers said. 

For the last two decades, Powers has applied these traits in teaching second grade at Eudora Elementary. After 25 years of teaching generations of students, he plans to retire after this spring.

“I’m just ready for a change,” Powers said. “Time for new adventures, whatever they are.”


Dick Powers plans on retiring after being in the Eudora school district for 25 years.

Born in Kansas City, he attended the University of Kansas in 1986 and graduated in radio, TV and film.

He worked as a produce manager until he lost his job from budget cuts. Looking for a new career, he realized his love of teaching from volunteering at his children’s school. He received his teaching certificate from Ottawa University shortly after in 1997.

His first job was as a reading teacher in De Soto. A year later, he moved to Eudora to continue at the elementary school in 1998.

After a year of teaching reading, he started as a second grade teacher. 

Powers originally chose second grade because it was the job he was offered. However, he has found great enjoyment teaching the grade level. 

“I love second graders because they’re independent, but they don’t quite have an attitude yet,” Powers said. “They still love coming to school for the most part."

Second graders Morgan Howell, Alaina Harger and Jay Chrislip only had positive things to say about Powers. They all agreed they will miss him when he’s gone.

“Sad because he’s really funny,” Howell said. 

“He’s super funny,” Harger said. “When it’s my birthday, I want to come back and bring him cupcakes.”

“I want to stay with Mr. Powers,” Chrislip said.

The students credited Powers for teaching them about their country, as well as geometry, reading, social studies and erosion.


Opening up his cabinets to pictures of past second grade classes, Powers shares memories he has had with generations of students.

Reading intervention teacher Jamee Mason has worked with Powers for 17 years and has witnessed him as a teacher and a colleague. 

“He’s fun, his students enjoy him. He likes to keep the kids always laughing,” Mason said. 

Powers has spent the past 25 years building relationships with his students, so much so that many remember him years later and reach out to him about their graduations.

“He’s always talking about former students and graduate announcements,” Mason said. 

For about 20 years, Powers also worked as a teacher contract negotiator for the teacher’s union. 

“Helping improve things for the teachers in the district,” Powers said. “I was always proud of that.”

He would look over contracts and evaluate salary and working conditions.

“He was very dedicated to making sure teachers were taken care of,” Mason said.“He was always making sure we were looked out for as well as the kids.”

Principal Seth Heide started his first year at the elementary school teaching second grade alongside Powers. He has worked with him for the past 13 years.

“I’ve known Mr. Powers forever. Just his rapport with kids, his sense of humor, he’s playing the guitar, all those fun things that he does, it just makes it fun for kids,” Heide said. “He’s just happy-go-lucky.”

Heide pointed out the generations of students Powers had taught. He said there has been a legacy of students who want to come back and visit him. At the last second grade music program, Heide noticed the amount of people who stood up when asked if they had Powers as a teacher.

“You just see the impact he’s had, which is educating those people who are still in the community, and through the generations even,” Heide said. “He’s had an impact on building good citizens of Eudora.”

Located in Lawrence for the past 40 years, Powers is well-known as a KU advocate. 

“I’ll truly miss the banter,” Heide said. “A friendly heckling of every K-State fan, whether it be a student or a fellow staff member.”

Mason said she will always remember Powers playing the KU fight song over the intercom and putting Jayhawks in K-State fans’ classrooms.

Mason and Heide both agreed his easy-going banter will be missed at Eudora Elementary.

Powers looks toward his future, while holding all of his past students and experiences dear to his heart.

After retirement, he plans to move to Kansas City and visit his children and grandchildren in Los Angeles and Washington D.C. 

“You’ve made a connection with kids, and that’s what I’ll always remember,” Powers said.

Reach reporter Katie Hanney at eudoratimes@gmail.com.

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