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Reason No. 895 to Love Perfect Strangers: A Principal Made Our Hearts Sing (Metaphorically)
For one principal, however, a man who'd spent 16 years shepherding kids in tough South Philadelphia through grades 5 through 12, the budget choice was a call to action. Rather than lay off his music teachers, he walked right out the door.
The 62-year-old Angelo Milicia sacrificed his $180,000 job and long-term health benefits running the Girard Academic Music Program school in order to divert those same funds into his music curriculum. By retiring early and letting his assistant take over, Milicia prevented two of his music teachers from being laid off, both of whom were essential to the school's arts mandate which requires that all students participate in choir and take three music theory classes a week.
The budget cuts "would have been devastating to that program," Milicia told the Philadelphia Daily News. (Note to all other principals out there: Research by the U.S. Department of Education has found that students who reported consistently high levels of involvement in instrumental music over the middle and high school years showed significantly higher levels of math proficiency by grade 12.)
One of his graduating students told the paper, "Here's a man who makes a sacrifice for the students that he loves. You can't get any better than that." We agree. Read the full article...with tissues.