Thank you for the words of recognition and praise for King Middle School Principal Michael McCarthy, who is retiring after 27 years of extraordinary service (“Our View: King Middle School principal delivered master class in leadership,” July 25).

As a parent of two boys who were lucky enough to attend King, I would like to add my gratitude to this man who has been instrumental in creating a success out of ingredients that are usually cited as a recipe for failure.

In addition to the educational vision and remarkable leadership skills highlighted in your editorial, Mr. McCarthy has quietly but courageously “walked the talk” of a commitment to treating all of Portland’s children equally.

For example, when my oldest was touring the middle schools back in 2007, the kids all wanted to know why the other two middle schools in town had a la carte lunch options, but King did not.

Unbeknownst to them, this option was available only to children who paid full price for meals. Mr. McCarthy’s response to their question about King’s policy was: “When all kids at King have the option of a la carte choices, then, and only then, will this be available.”

A couple of years later, there was a huge public controversy about potential confidential contraception provision at the school-based health centers.

Mr. McCarthy navigated the minefield by arguing that for many children at King, the school-based health center was their only source of primary care, and they had the same right to confidentiality at their provider’s office as a child who saw a private physician.

These are two of many examples of the values that Mr. McCarthy taught by his words and deeds. I will always be grateful that he was part of the village that raised my children. Michael McCarthy – thank you for your service.

Debra Rothenberg

Portland