For Daree Powell, a decision to find a job after her youngest child started first grade turned into a teaching career.
Now Powell is retiring after nearly two decades at King-Murphy Elementary School. She taught primarily first-graders, and she thinks she’s best at teaching emerging readers.
“I myself am not a good reader,” said Powell, 59. “I tell them that they may not love (reading), but they have to learn to read.”
Parents attribute their children’s literacy skills to Powell’s attention to reading.
“Both of my boys are voracious readers,” said parent Nancy Judge, who has a freshman at Clear Creek High School and a sixth-grader at King-Murphy. “I attribute that to Daree.”
“She’s just amazing,” said former colleague Jeanie Graham, who retired after 42 years of teaching. “She is one of the world’s best teachers. The kids loved her activities.”
On her first day of retirement, Powell said, she’s going to take a picture of the sunrise, because she heard that’s a tradition for new retirees. On day two, she plans to sleep until 8 a.m.
After that, it’s playing golf and travel. She especially wants to go back East later this year to see the fall colors. And then she’s planning to begin cleaning the home in Idaho Springs that she’s lived in for 30 years.
She’ll also be babysitting her four grandkids. She’s proud that all three of her children are products of Clear Creek schools.
As a farewell gift, her students put together a book with photos and notes from past and present students.
First-grader Evelyn Allen wrote: “Dear Ms. Powell, I will love you forever and ever. I learned great stuff. Like being respectful.”
Roxi Weatherford wrote: “I will remember you because you taught me to do math and learned the water cycle in your class. You are special to me because you are nice.”
Zachary Holman wrote: “I will remember you because you are special. You taught me to be a thinker.”
Powell says she loves her classroom, and she really enjoyed helping children with projects. She said she will miss the kids and the staff.
“I have a huge circle of friends since coming to King-Murphy,” she said. “King-Murphy is a wonderful family. It’s so cohesive. It’s been a fun ride.”