June 28, 2019

Positivity: ‘I’m home’ — Former custodian starts new job as school principal

Filed under: Education,Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am

From Denver, Colorado (video at link):

Published: 5:37 PM MDT June 7, 2019
Updated: 5:37 PM MDT June 7, 2019

Michael Atkins said a relationship he formed with a teacher at the age of 7 led him on a unique career path.

Walking through the playground of Stedman Elementary brings back memories for Michael Atkins.

“Basketball — would be [age] 6, 7 up here playing a pretty physical game of hoop,” Atkins said. “This has been a part of my story — Park Hill, Stedman has been a part of my story, and I’ve learned so much just from walking these streets.”

Atkins recently became the principal of Stedman Elementary, a career that started years ago as a custodian for another Denver Public School (DPS) district school.

Atkins grew up around Stedman, but as a kid he was bused to Bromwell Elementary School where he built a special relationship with a second grade teacher that would ultimately change his life.

“This teacher took the time and the opportunity to form a relationship that opened a door for me,” Atkins said.

When he was bused to Hamilton Middle School in southeast Denver, Atkins said things changed.

“Just the different interactions that I had with the teachers, I had the social intelligence at that time to understand there were differences,” Atkins said.

He said black students like himself were treated differently.

“Teachers telling me that I’ll be dead by the time I’m 21,” Atkins said.

When he got older, he took his first full-time job with DPS as a custodian at Rachel B. Noel Middle School in far northeast Denver.

“I took pride in the bathrooms I cleaned. I took pride in the rooms that I vacuumed,” Atkins said.

Shortly after, he ran into his old second grade teacher from Bromwell, who helped him get a job in the classroom as a paraprofessional teacher.

“It was the relationship that I was able to build at 7 years old that opened up the doors for me in education,” Atkins said. …

Go here for the rest of the story.


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