Dr. Leversia L. Powers, 83, a retired specialist in elementary education who worked in Montgomery County, in Pennsylvania and with the State Department in South America, died of cancer Monday at the home of her son in Rockville.

Dr. Powers was born in Limestone, Maine, and graduated from the Aroostock (Maine) State Normal School. She moved to Washington in World War I and worked at the old Bureau of War Risk Insurance. In 1922, she married John T. Powers, a contractor. He was killed in a construcion accident in 1927.

In that year, Dr. Powers became a teacher in the Montgomery County public school system. She rose to be principal of Bethesda Elementary and then of Takoma Park Elementary. In 1939, she earned a doctorate in education from George Washington University.

In 1940, she joined the Pennsylvania State Department of Education. She wrote a new curriculum for use in elementary schools throughout the state. She was chief of elementary education when she resigned in 1948 to join the State Department. She worked on education problems in Ecuador and Honduras and lived in those countries for many years.

Dr. Powers resigned from State in 1960 and returned to Pennsylvania, where she was an assistant county superintendent of schools. She retired in 1962 and moved to Belfast, Maine. She was the author of several text books and numerous articles published in professional journals. She taught at summer sessions of Teachers College at Columbia University.

About 1971, she returned to the Washington area and settled in Rockville. She had her own residence there until about six months ago, when she moved to the house of her son, John M. Powers.

In addition to Mr. Powers, survivors include two sisters, Hazel L. Beall of Washington, and Laila L. Thompson of Limestone; three grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.

The family suggests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to the American Cancer Society.