Michael Atkins, a former janitor at DenverPublic School returned to the school as the new principal Stedman Elementary School. Atkins valued his previous job as a janitor. He told KUSA that he meticulously carried out his duties as the school janitor – he cleaned the bathrooms well and ensured the floors were properly vacuumed.
Atkins attributes his remarkable transition from janitor to principal to his former second-grade teacher. The two met again while he worked as a janitor. Atkins had developed a strong relationship with his second-grade teacher right from the time he was seven years old. The teacher got him a paraprofessional teaching opportunity ay the school.
Atkins did his best in the classroom as well. He did an incredible job each time and this saw him rise the ranks. He transitioned from a janitor to a teacher; from a teacher to an assistant principal and finally from assistant principal to principal in the same school he brought up around as a child.
Atkins mentioned that growing up, he noticed the difference in the way people regarded Black students. He added that he was able to recognize these differences through his interactions with teachers. For this reason, in his new role as principal, he has made it his purpose to minimize racial disparities in the school.
He further added that his aim is to ensure that all students irrespective of race experience high levels of diversity without being incriminated against because of their skin color. Atkins’ experience growing up as a black student and his distinctive perspective as a janitor makes him the most suitable person to make such a change.