Louis Butler, Principal
[In January, 1953] I was teaching third grade at Minnequa when one afternoon the Superintendent of School District #60 came to the school. Miss Braun [the principal] came to my classroom about 2 p.m. and said that the superintendent was in her office, and that he wanted to speak to me. She took over my class and I went down to talk to him. He told me that there was a school board meeting that night, and he wanted to present my name as the principal of Bradford School, starting with the second semester, only a few days away.
I needed to give him the answer by 4:00, so he could be ready for the board meeting. I went back up to the room and Miss Braun told me that even though I wanted to finish out the year in my classroom, I should accept the position now, because she knew people who had said they wanted to wait and the offer was never made again. She suggested that I should go home and talk to Leona about it and then return with our decision.
I went home and we talked about it and decided that we could not afford not to accept. So I returned and called Mr. Davis, and he seemed glad that I was going to take it. That night he proposed my name and the board told him that they had previously told Mrs. Lucille James that she would get the next principalship. That was before Mr. Davis was the superintendent. He was furious and said that would never happen to him again! He came out to the school the next day and apologized to me, but assured me that the next principalship would be mine. I was not too disappointed because I wanted to finish out the year with my third grade class.
I heard no more about it, and I never made any kind of a request to be a principal. That spring I was asked to apply for a position in the Education Department at Pueblo Jr. College, but did not do so because I preferred the principalship which I was sure was coming.
During the summer we again moved the trailer to Greeley and went to school for the summer. I still had heard nothing about a principal job, but one day in early August I opened the Pueblo Chieftain newspaper and read that I had been appointed as a principal at the board meeting the night before. I had received Bessemer and Hinsdale schools as my assignment. Later the assignment was changed to Bessemer and Strack schools.
Prior to starting my new assignment in August (1953) John Dunlap, Assistant Superintendent of Personnel called me into his office in the old Administration Building at 102 East Orman and sang the praises of Bessemer Elementary School. He told me about his days as principal of Bessemer and Minnequa. Then he said, “Being an elementary principal is just like being the captain of a ship. You are the boss. You have almost complete control of your school. You are responsible for curriculum, for the care of the building, for your public relations, etc.”
At that time a principal received teachers according to the number of rooms in the building, not the number of students. Each building had one gym teacher, regardless of the number of students, unless it was a very small school. A very small school might have a half-time gym teacher, or none at all. We did not have a media center, music teacher, Title I, bilingual education, EH, or special education.
Mr. Dunlap had great respect for me as the Bishop and let me take care of church business, funerals, etc. without problem. As long as my secretary knew where I was, and as long as I kept care of the school I was free to take care of church responsibilities.