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Frank Powell has the chance to influence his students in the classroom and in the game.

Powell teaches eighth grade social studies and coaches boys’ basketball at League Academy in Greenville. He previously taught at Riverside and Lakeview Middle Schools and has coached tennis, baseball and basketball. He left the classroom to serve as assistant principal and then principal at Legacy Charter School. He enjoyed the role but felt drawn back to teaching. The married father of three said he approached his wife with the idea of returning to teaching and coaching, even though it would mean taking a significant cut in salary.

“I love it,” he said. “I absolutely love it. You get a more personal connection to the kids. That’s what I missed the most.”

Though he had opportunities to work with older students, Powell said middle school suits him best.

“I love the challenge of taking care of kids at a time when they need it the most,” he said. “That’s my job – to make sure they feel loved.”

Powell said middle school is a time when students often struggle with bullying and self-image.

“I love on them and talk to them,” he said. “I tell them stories about my middle school years and show them pictures of when I was in middle school.”

Powell said he models his relationships with students on those his parents, both educators, have with their students.

“I’ve got kids all over the country now,” he said.

Nomination excerpt:

“Frank Powell strives daily to make a difference in his students life. Not only is he a wonderful teacher in the classroom and a great basketball coach, he is just a wonderful person. He is doing very significant things like making sure his kids are safe at home to making sure his kids are doing well at school. He takes time to know his kids and their backgrounds. He tries so hard to care for his students like the real young people they are. That is something that makes a bigger impact than most people can fathom.”

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