PECULIAR, Mo. — In a post shared by the Raymore-Peculiar School District, the administration said one of their own died on Saturday.

Paul Lichtenauer died on Saturday. He was just 41 years old. His partner told FOX4 he experienced a medical emergency while he was cycling.

Lichtenauer taught at the Raymore-Peculiar Academy since 2019 and also taught at the recently opened LEAD Center.

The district said Lichtenauer was “well-liked by students and fellow staff members.”

Lichtenauer focused on providing students with hands-on and real-world approaches to projects.

“It’s just hard,” senior Andrew Burton said. 

Burton said he looked up to Lichtenauer. He was a teacher, coach and a personal mentor to Burton. 

“I know that many students benefited deeply from his words and his advice,” Burton said. 

Lichtenauer spent half his day at the alternative high school and the other half teaching electives at the LEAD Center. He offered electives based on what the students were interested in learning. 

“So, you wanted to learn how to fix a refrigerator? He learned how, and then he taught the kids,” Director of Secondary Schools Kristel Barr said.

“That’s just how amazing he was, and so because he would do that, he meant so much to the kids and because he wanted to meet them where they were and believed that’s where learning takes place.”

Barr said he was part of a new program called Enterprise and Design. Kids work on client connected projects as a way to earn credits.

Burton said Lichtenauer never shot down ideas. He was just a guiding light.

“It was always, ‘I like where you’re going, what if we tried it this way?'” Burton said.

The Raymore-Peculiar teen said the world is missing a positive spirit now. 

“There’s just not a lot of guys like Paul. There’s really not,” Burton said, “and so just him not being around sort of weighs on you a little bit. But we’re going to keep pushing for Paul.”

Lichtenauer was also a member of a band called “Twice on Sunday”. He joined the group in 2021 as a guitarist and his bandmates described him as “a great friend, and the biggest cheerleader of the group.” Lichtenauer was also a member of the Kansas Cycling Association.

The school district said counseling will be available for staff and students this week, as well as from 1-3 p.m. at Raymore-Peculiar Academy on Tuesday.

Ray-Pec said they will share funeral arrangements when they become available.

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