Faces of 495

We might be a little biased, but we believe the individuals who work for the Fort Larned school district are truly exceptional! Once you have the opportunity to meet them, we're confident that you'll agree.

However, with nearly 200 employees at 495, getting to know each one individually can be quite challenging! To help you get acquainted, we're excited to introduce our new story series titled "Faces of 495." This collection features question-and-answer profiles showcasing various Fort Larned staff members across different facilities within the district. From teachers and social workers to principals, paraprofessionals, counselors, directors, food service workers, IT personnel, and other front-line folks whose commitment to students is integral in helping shape our leaders of tomorrow!

Be sure to check back regularly for new additions and get to know the outstanding individuals who contribute to our district's success!




Name: Hayley Dicks

Your position at 495: Kindergarten Classroom Teacher and Elementary ESL Coordinator

How long you've worked at 495: 17 years, teaching 2nd grade (1) and Kindergarten (16)

Education: B.S. in Elementary Education from Kansas State University, ESL Certification from Kansas State University , M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction from Doane College

Family: My husband, Shane, and I farm and ranch in the Great Bend area, as well as teaching full-time and working as an Ag Lender/ Vice-President for Peoples Bank and Trust. Our oldest son, Dalton, will graduate this May from Wichita State, majoring in Communications/Digital Media, and minoring in Political Science/ Law and Public Policy. Our youngest son, Parker, will graduate from Great Bend HIgh School in May, and will be continuing his academic and athletic pursuits at Kansas Wesleyan University.

Can you give a brief description of what all your job duties entail?

I am a full-time elementary classroom teacher in kindergarten at LES, and I also oversee our elementary ESL program.  This includes meeting the state requirements for testing, writing individual learning plans, and providing service minutes to those identified as second language learners.  I work with an amazing paraprofessional, Mrs. Kasey Lane, who meets with those students and assists them daily within the classroom to meet their needs.

Share one thing that people would be surprised to learn about you:

In the last 28 years of marriage, I have gone from a city girl to a fairly proficient farm hand- even pulling my first calf by myself!


If you could have tickets to any concert (dead or alive), who would you see and why?

This is a difficult question! I would love to see George Strait, the Beatles, Jimmy Buffett, Sinatra, James Taylor, Lady Gaga, Pentatonix, or Aerosmith or Pink again! Each artist represents a different stage in my life and brings back great memories!

What was the first job you ever had and what did you learn from it?

Besides babysitting at a young age, I also worked in food service and the retail clothing industry. My favorite “first” job was living and working as a counselor at Wildwood Outdoor Education Center.  Their motto is, “Kids grow better outside.” They offer a unique opportunity to inner-city Kansas City youth to experience summer camp, by reducing barriers to participation so that all children have access to their programs. I loved the science curriculums and outside classroom opportunities, as well their adventure challenge course obstacles, which focused on teamwork.  My educational emphasis is in science (almost 40 hours of classwork) for this reason!

What inspired you to pursue a career in education?

I decided upon a career in education at age 6, as I adored my first grade teacher and the student-teacher she was mentoring that year.  She recalls me asking her for a “master copy” of an activity we completed for my “teacher file.” My decision never waivered, and this is my 28th year of teaching, having taught in Nebraska and Kansas, in three different school districts, and spending 26 of those years in kindergarten. I am blessed that God called me to do this amazing job!


Name one item that you own that you simply couldn't live without:

Coffee Pot

If you weren't in your current position with USD 495, what do you think you'd be doing for a career?

Book editor

If you could learn to do any one thing, what would it be?

As we live in the farmhouse built by my great-grandparents nearly 110 years ago, I would love to have greater construction/ home-improvement skills, so that I could take on more than just cosmetic projects!

What is your favorite thing to eat, and where is your favorite place to get it?

A good steak! Since we raise and butcher our own beef, the best steaks I eat are grilled at home by my husband!

You're in the car, listening to the radio. What song will get you to sing out loud, and which song will get you to change the station?

I have a very eclectic taste in music and I love to sing, so if I am alone, I will sing along to most any song- unless it is rap music!

The best part of my job is:

Kindergarten students display a tremendous amount of growth in just one year.  There are so many “lightbulb” moments that I am privileged to be a part of!  They may enter my classroom unable to recognize, identify, or write the letters in their name, and they leave reading independently! They may not be able to write or recognize numbers, and they leave counting accurate sets and solving addition and subtraction problems! I love building relationships with students and families, and I have been able to teach multiple sets of siblings during my time here in Larned. Kindergarteners have a love for learning and such excitement for school!  Their daily hugs and “I love yous!” are definitely an occupational perk!