Craig Gfeller, principal of a small, high-poverty elementary school in exurban Washington, is adamant that his school provides opportunities for his students because, he says, schools are the only hope many poor children have.

“The only route for poor children out of poverty is us,” he says.

He is drawing on his own experience. “I come from a poor farming family in New York state,” he says. “My family was on welfare at one point. There was alcohol abuse and physical abuse.”

He says he can look back and see that he had very few prospects, except for school. “I had people who believed in me and education,” he says. One of those people was a teacher who took extra time with him; another was his high school employer, who helped him fill out his college applications.

He wants students in the school he leads to find teachers and staff who believe in them and provide an education.

To read more about Gfeller and his school, go to Huffington Post.