‘I’m home’: Former custodian starts new job as school principal in Denver

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DENVER, Colorado (KUSA) — Michael Atkins is the new principal of Stedman Elementary school.

Atkins grew up in the area and says a teacher changed his life when he was very young.
“This teacher took the time and the opportunity to form a relationship that opened a door for me,” Atkins said in an interview with KUSA.

When he got older, he took his first full-time job with Denver Public Schools as a custodian.

“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 teacher, 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.

He worked his way up through the ranks.

He wants to show his students the importance of celebrating everybody’s differences.

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

“I’m home. I’m home. This is home for me,” Atkins said. “Park Hill is home for me.”

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