Urban News: Denver Man Who Worked Years As A Janitor Becomes Principal Of His Former Elementary School

News Media: Former School Janitor Becomes Principal Of His Former Elementary School

There’s no height that cannot be reached with determination and hard work. One former janitor identified as Michael Atkins, has become the principal of his former elementary school. The former Denver Public Schools custodian, worked his way all the way up because of how he approached his first full time job cleaning schools.

Former School Janitor Becomes Principal (2)

According to Atkins, “I took pride in the bathrooms I cleaned. I took pride in the rooms that I vacuumed”. He credits his transition from cleaning the hallways to teaching, to his second grade teacher whom he ran into on the job. It’s understood the teacher built a special relationship with him at age seven and helped him get a job in the classroom as a paraprofessional teacher. He then applied the same work ethic and pride in his work as a custodian to his new role. This pushed Atkins to climb the ranks from custodian, to teacher, to assistant principal and now the new principal of Stedman Elementary School. A school he grew up around as a kid.

He told KUSA that as a child he recognized that Black students were treated differently. He said:

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

“So, what I want for my brown students, my Black students or my white students is to experience diversity at a high level.”



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Urban Education: Former School Janitor Becomes Principal Of His Former Elementary School


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