Prairie View board adds member to represent District 4


Linn Valley resident Richard Gravelle, a retired teacher and automotive technician, will represent District 4 on the Prairie View school board. (Roger Sims/Linn County Journal)


LA CYGNE – The Prairie View USD Board of Education voted unanimously to appoint Linn Valley resident Richard Gravelle to the vacant seat on the board on Monday, Sept. 12. Gravelle will represent District 4, which covers the northeastern corner of the school district including Linn Valley and southern Miami County.


Gravelle attended the August board meeting and expressed interest in applying for the post left vacant in June, when former board member Maggie Peterson resigned because her family was moving out of state. He then sent a letter of interest to the board outlining his work and volunteer experience.

He will complete the term of the position, which ends in June 2024 but is up for election in November 2023.


The retired teacher brings considerable experience in industrial arts and education to the board. In May, he retired from teaching from Turner USD 202, where he worked as a tesacher in the district’s Auto Tech program, from 2020 until his retirement.


Before that, he worked as a collision repair instructor for Kansas City Kansas Community College’s (KCKCC) Collision Repair Program from 2005 to 2019. He became lead instructor for the program, which ran a real-world shop that worked on customers’ vehicles, which added to the business experience he gained on the job.


Gravelle also said that he created curriculum for the program as well as administering assessments to the students in the form of industry recognized credentials.


Before Gravelle became an instructor, however, he put in his time in a shop as an automotive service technician, which included mentoring young apprentices in the trade. During his time as an automotive technician, he advanced to the role of lead technician, shop foreman and technician production manager over the span of 35 years in the industry.


He was hired by Kansas City (Kansas) USD 500 as a collision repair instructor until that program merged with the KCKCC program and he continue on with the community college.


“I received my first teaching certificate from the State of Kansas in 2008 and received a BS from Pittsburg State University in 2012 in Technical Teacher Education,” he told the board in the letter. “I went on to earn a MS from Kansas State University in Adult and Continuing Education in 2014. I currently hold numerous automotive certifications and also hold a current automotive service teaching certificate from the State of Kansas.”


In addition to working as an instructor, Gravelle also volunteered in his son’s activities as he was growing up, from T-ball coach, to Cub Scout leader to Boy Scout leader. He said he has worked with other organizations, serving on boards and committees both for work and as a volunteer.

The retired teacher and his wife, Kelly, have been married 46 years and his son is now married with two children of his own, 2-year-old Grayson and 1-year-old Gunner, and his married daughter also has a son, Sami, who is 11.


An auto enthusiast to the core, Gravelle is in the midst of rehabbing two Chevy pickups, a ’68 and a ’69. When he has time, he likes to go cruising on an ’86 Honda Goldwing that he resurrected from what was a "basket case." He is currently rehabbing his home but keeps a motorhome in which he enjoys touring with an eye toward traveling to the ocean on both coasts once his wife retires.


Gravelle said he has been a property owner at Linn Valley Lakes since 2017, moving to live there full-time in early 2020.


“I would like to contribute to the continued success of the school district and to the education of current and future students,” he said in his application to the Prairie View board. “We all want the best for our kids and I want to be a part of this too. I care deeply for our students and want to do all that I can to help them succeed!”


Gravelle will becoming an active member of the board in its next meeting, which is expected to be Oct. 10.

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