(Editor’s Note: This is the second in a story series featuring Nodaway Valley’s retirees.)
FONTANELLE — After 30 years as an educator, Ed Lowry has decided to retire from his post as a special education teacher at Nodaway Valley Middle School, though he’s not shutting the door on the possibility that he may substitute teach or work as a paraeducator in the future.
“Going into this year, I had a few reservations,” he said. “With COVID and my age, but I felt I still had more to give.”
Lowry said his goal has always been to communicate with students and parents effectively and to help them be successful.
“I think I’ve made a difference, and it’s really cool,” Lowry said. “I know I’ve helped, but I know the people around me have also helped, so it’s kind of a team effort.”
Lowry was first drawn to be a special education teacher by vivid memories of his childhood, but first he had stops as a teacher and coach at Grand Valley (Kellerton and Grand River) before that school closed, then he moved to Central Decatur.
In 1996, he and his family moved to the Adair County area where he began a five-year stint in West Central Valley schools, when it was a new district. He started the boys soccer program there and they became successful enough to reach two state tournaments under his watch.
Living in Greenfield in 2000 and his wife, Sandy, teaching at Adair-Casey, Lowry got a job at Winterset, where he stayed a year. He then joined his wife at A-C for seven years before he started at Nodaway Valley.
At Nodaway Valley, Lowry has taught special education at multiple levels and coached soccer.
Those vivid childhood memories that led Lowry to special education were that his father was deaf. They grew up in a poor area of Kansas City. While the neighborhood kids respected and loved his dad like he did, Lowry remembers the kids on the city bus or at shool weren’t as kind.
“It would get to me. I thought that if there’s a way, that’s an area I want to get involved with where I can make a difference. People who are deaf, have a disability or are disadvantaged in some way, they can contribute, make a difference, and people don’t have to treat each other this way. That’s kind of my whole gist I’ve had with my soccer programs and students I’ve had. Whether they have money or don’t have money, have a disability or don’t have a disability, that’s what I’ve done, and I’m proud of that. I know my parents know that and my students I have know that, and I can’t ask for anything else.”
In retirement, Lowry is excited to spend time with his wife, Sandy, helping his daughter who is a teacher earning her master’s degree, keeping up with his son in Seattle who is a computer systems analyst, and fostering his love for songwriting and music.
“I’ve met a lot of good teachers and have made a lot of good connections and a lot of friends,” Lowry said. “I’ve been a very fortunate person here. Most everybody has treated me really well. I have nothing to say but good things about the people, the students and athletes I’ve worked with.”