• 32°

Rick Oliver volunteers time in retirement to students

When Rick Oliver retired from Gate Precast about three years ago, he knew he would want to find something to do to stay occupied. But it wasn’t long before his next calling would come from his daughter, Baker Intermediate School teacher Renee Ware.

“I was stressing about not being able to meet the needs of all of my students and my dad said he would come help out a few days a week and see how it went,” Ware said.

Ware convinced Oliver, a former CPA, to come into the school and mentor a group of students who were struggling with math.

“I gave him a few kids to work with and he actually loved it,” she said. “Every kid that he helped went up on their test scores.”

Since that time, Oliver has remained a fixture in Ware’s classroom, now working not just with a few students, but anyone in the class who needs help with math.

“They’re good kids,” Oliver said. “When I first started I didn’t know what to expect, but they all want to learn. You just have to be able to teach it to them in a way that they understand.”

Oliver works with students in two of Ware’s classes every Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, Ware said.

“It’s been a good fit,” he said. “I like math and I’m good at it. It worked out a whole lot better than I initially thought.”

Ware said the arrangement has worked well for her students as well.

“I feel like there is a lot of untapped potential for pairing people like my dad with the right teachers to help mentor and teach the kids,” she said.

Oliver said he plans to continue his mentoring for the foreseeable future.

“I’ll keep doing it as long as (Ware) wants me there,” he said.