A Colorado man who started his career in Denver Public Schools as a part-time custodian, is set to begin the 2019 school year as the new principal for Stedman Elementary.
Michael Atkins, 38, landed his first job in the Denver public school system at Smiley Middle School. But he told ABC affiliate KMGH last week that he knew that first role was just the start.
“There were times where I got comfortable within my custodial position, and I loved the work. I loved the people that I met. I was still able to be in front of youth. But I knew that was just the first chapter of my journey,” said Atkins.
And even before becoming a Denver Public Schools, Atkins was a student in the district.
“Growing up in Park Hill, there weren’t many positive influences and/or opportunities in the neighborhood. So, I didn’t really have any aspirations to be in education,” he said.
According to CNN, Atkins took part-time college courses while raising his daughter. The custodian position led to promotions, which led to changing schools, which led to a job as a teacher.
From there, Atkins became an assistant principal and eventually took on the role of principal at Stedman.
“Don’t let someone write your story; make sure you write your own story. And if someone has something to do with your story, let them edit it, do not let them create it,” Atkins told KMGH.