By Amy Haggerty
Teaching children how to read is one of Kerri Allen’s special talents, and for the past 23 years she has bestowed the gift of the printed word to Stockbridge Community School children. She thinks of her students as “my children when they are in my classroom,” and she likes to connect with their families.
Allen, who is currently teaching a first- and second-grade split classroom at Smith Elementary, says her golden rule is “Be safe, respectful and responsible.” She teaches students to “never, ever, give up.”
Principal Brad Edwards described Allen as one of the most dedicated and caring teachers he knows. “She has an awesome ability to reach each and every student, so they can maximize their potential,” he said. “She prides herself in having positive connections between home and school to build great relationships with each one of her families.”
Allen credited her mother, retired high-school secretary Mary Carpenter, for convincing her to take her first education class.
“I was hooked,” Allen grinned. “It’s been my passion ever since.” The petite, dark-haired educator also cited Joan Toy, one of her elementary teachers, as influencing her career choice. She said field trips to Toy’s house and a variety of projects left lasting memories. She smiled to recall how a totem pole that her class constructed stood in front of Smith Elementary School for many years.
Allen, maiden name Carpenter, grew up in Stockbridge and attended Adrian College. After graduating in 1994 with triple majors in elementary education, earth science and family life studies, she married Jason Allen, her high school sweetheart and a fellow Adrian Bruiser. Together the couple raised two daughters, Keana and Ellie. Both daughters attended Stockbridge Schools.
Allen, who brims with Panther Pride, said growing up in Stockbridge and teaching here has been a dream come true. “My award and honors are the smiles that walk through the door each and every morning. They each have something fun to tell me and a hug to share with me.”