Ivywild Principal Madril to retire
Washed dishes to eat in his D-11 student days

       Joe Madril goes way back with District 11. He remembers what it was like going to East Middle School and washing dishes in the school cafeteria to pay for his lunches. Little did he know that someday he'd become a school principal in the district.
       Now, at age 50, the principal of Ivywild School has decided to leave the world of education altogether. After a transition year in 2004-05 as assistant principal at Twain Elementary, Madril will retire from District 11 after 23 years.
        The school posted the Ivywild position through June 11, with the idea of hiring a new principal by early July.
        Known for his gracious style, Madril has nothing but kind words for the school and the district he will be leaving. “Ivywild has wonderful parents, and it's a beautiful school, “ he said. “I'd like to say thank you to District 11 for giving me the opportunity to be here.”
       He had been principal at Ivywild since 1999, overseeing its gradual transition over the past three years into the district's only K- 8 school. This was the first year in which there was an eighth-grade graduating class.
        He's been pleased with the results. At first, he said, some people “were worried about the big kids being around the little kids.” Instead, he observed, “the little kids are learning to play from the big kids.” Another age-ignoring innovation that has worked well, he said, has been to allow students in different grades from the same families to eat lunches together.
        But the job can take its toll, he noted. Asked why he was retiring, Madril pointed to the number of hours the job can call for. “Our family emergency plan has been to meet at Ivywild,” he said.
       It's also been tough, considering the sociological make-up of the Ivywild population. The students are highly transient; for instance, 53 percent of the student body in 2003-04 were new. “Only 5 or 10 kids are still here from when I started,” Madril said.
       Part of the reason is that a quarter of the students live in motels/hotels or shelters, and they often come to school unprepared. “We've worked hard to make these kids feel welcome,” he said. “My cabinets are filled with school supplies for them to use.”
       Madril started his educational career at a later age than most teachers/administrators. Before his District 11 career, he worked 16 years for King Soopers. “I worked my way through college that way,” he said. “I was lucky enough to do that. It's a wonderful company.”
       He has been married 29 years, with two children, ages 28 and 26.
       Before Ivywild, he taught at Patrick Henry Elementary (while both his children went there), then Wilson and Irving. After that he was assistant principal at Monroe and Penrose elementaries.
       “I think I'd like to do some volunteering,” Madril said, when asked about the life he envisions after District 11. “I'm just ready to do something else for awhile.”

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