LANSING, Mich. — He is a living testament to how a good education can elevate you.
Lansing Public Schools superintendent Sam Sinicropi is retiring this summer after 51 years in education.
Sinicropi started out as a custodian back in the late 1960s while working on his degrees from Lansing Community College and Michigan State University.
He says a teacher at one of the elementary schools he used to clean took an interest in him and inspired him to become an educator.
“One of the teachers invited me to come in and read to her class. And it got me to thinking you know what? I think I’m going to try this. Her name was Ms. Davis," said Sinicropi.
In the decades since, Sinicropi has served in many roles including Director of Human Resources and school principal and chief financial officer.
“It was funny because he had a business card that had the school district logo but on the line where it would normally have a title, he had a blank line. Like a fill-in-the-blank because Sam had been pulled in to work for the district in so many different capacities," said school board President Gabrielle Lawrence.
He did take a position in the Saline Area Schools district but he kept finding himself coming back to the Lansing School District's administration.
Technically, this is the third time he has retired. He keeps coming back because he’s needed.
“I came back in 2012 here for about a year. Left again and came back in 2014. Left again. You know I was just doing jobs as they needed because people had retired or whatever,” said Sinicropi.
Lanette Hester has been working with Sinicropi as his executive assistant since August and has three words to describe him.
“Patient, brilliant, and kind,” she said.
Hester says Sinicropi is taking what Ms. Davis showed him and paying it forward.
“He always encouraged me and he always encourages everyone. He even encourages us to give grace to ourselves because this is a challenging time. I have watched him and learned from him just how he interacts with everyone and his genuine concern for everyone’s well-being," she said.
Sinicropi says he plans to really retire this time.
He’s planning to spend time with his grandkids and his wife.
Sinicropi says he won’t miss all the early mornings but he will miss the people and the important work he’s done over the years.
Right now, Sinicropi is working with the incoming superintendent Benjamin Shuldiner and teaching him the ropes.
Shuldiner officially starts in his role in July.
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