A faithful reader in Indiana shared this crumb. Newly-appointed principal Michael Atkins, 39, leads Stedman Elementary School in Denver, Colorado, the same school district where he originally worked as a custodian. As a child, he felt racial discrimination in his predominantly white schools. After graduation, he balanced raising his daughter with part-time college and a job in education. He applied to be a teacher's aide, but was offered a custodial position instead. He accepted it and enjoyed the work.


After receiving promotions and changing schools, he reconnected with a second-grade teacher -turned-principal who'd invested in Atkins and his family. She offered him a paraprofessional job. Soon, equipped with a degree and certification, he graduated to teacher and then assistant principal. He started as principal on June 1, vowing to bridge racial and cultural divides.