Bill Moore has spent his 30 years as principal at All Souls School greeting students coming from the morning car line, dishing food in the lunch line and waving them goodbye after dismissal.
“I was always there to greet the kids in the morning and I go outside every afternoon,” Moore said. “I also did lunch duties so that kids can distinguish the role of principal as other than the person you’re sent to when you don’t make a good choice.”
Moore, 69, is retiring this school year after 43 years in education and 30 years at All Souls in Englewood.
He was taught by religious brothers and sisters while growing up in Illinois and later earned his bachelor’s degree from Lewis University in Illinois and his master’s degree in administration from Central Michigan University.
He first taught at an inner-city middle school in Chicago before teaching at a Catholic high school in Bay City, Mich., and another middle school in Jackson, Mich.
Teaching has become a tradition for his family. Both his wife, Paula, and his daughter, Kathleen Riccio, are special education teachers.
And family has become a tradition at All Souls where generations have attended the school.
One of his fondest memories is of one of his teachers who showed their child a graduation photo on the wall.
Moore said he heard the child say, “You knew Mr. Moore when his hair was brown.”
The students and faculty decided to honor his 30 years of service by a series of gifts and tributes at the end of each month before he announced his retirement in December.
Every month, students wear anniversary T-shirts with the words “Mr. Moore” and “30 years.” Each class will take a turn and present him with a gift. The fifth-grade class sang him a song, another class gave him a card filled with prayers and another gave him candy.
“It’s been quite a pleasure. The first ones were a surprise,” he said.
Students also used money raised from a fundraiser to purchase new laptops, computers and needed updates to the school—all items on Moore’s school “wish list.”
On Feb. 28, the school will put on a show called “Tribute to Mr. Moore” and on May 1 the school will host a dinner for current students and graduates in his honor at Mile High Station in Denver. Moore will also prepare a picnic for students.
Teachers and staff say Moore will be remembered for his readiness to always help someone.
“I think his greatest attribute is his willingness to try to help everyone: teachers, students and parents,” said long-time teacher Sue Troxel.
In return, Moore said he’s received more and has grown in faith ever since he joined the community.
“It has deepened mine just by the respect of the environment we’re in and the community we have,” Moore said. “It’s always inspiring to hear the kids proclaim the word at liturgies. Even if they flub up, it’s so impressive.”
Behind his work has been the hope to emulate the religious teachers he had in parochial school.
“Somebody had to model the great work they did,” Moore said about wanting to honor the religious’ contribution to education. “I hope I have.”
He’s also strongly believed in accepting all children who’ve come seeking an education.
“All Souls does not have an application form to attend our school, nor do we want to test children,” he said. “We believe strongly if the Holy Spirit brings you to this door, he brought you for a reason.”
He’s proud of the school’s gifted and talented program, which accepts and instructs students with special needs.
“I love All Souls,” he said. “The parent community is phenomenal here. The student body is incredible. They are truly a gift to me.”
After May, Moore won’t be there to wave goodbye to students picked up after school. But he said he hopes students will always feel welcome at the school.
“No matter what their experience is, they have a home to come to,” he said.