CAMP VERDE – For Deborah Allen, the fourth time is the charm.
That’s because Allen held three careers before she returned to the classroom. Although she knew back in the ninth grade that she wanted to be a teacher.
Now in her 15th year as an educator, this is Allen’s fourth year at Camp Verde’s American Heritage Academy, where she teaches the fifth grade.
“We moved from a high academic state to a lower one,” Allen said. “I ended up being a peer tutor for most of my classes that year. Especially math. I loved it.”
Allen used to work in the fashion industry in New York City.
So it’s interesting that her favorite part of teaching is “the unexpected, the diversity of the job, and seeing results when the odds were stacked.”
According to Lance Barnes, principal at Camp Verde’s American Heritage Academy, Allen “deeply cares for each of her children.”
“She will never give up, even if they have given up on themselves,” he said.
Barnes said he knew Allen was special as an educator when she “found a way to keep on laughing and being positive, even in the toughest of situations.”
“She drives us all to keep pushing through adversity,” Barnes said.
If there’s anything Allen does not like about education, it’s when a child is “not supported at home.”
“This affects their education immensely, especially if basic needs are not met,” Allen said. “Often, the biggest effect is poor attendance, which makes the children fall behind and most of all feel not connected to school.”
“My favorite is inquiry-based. Luckily, I had some of the best professors at ASU’s teaching program. Many of them encouraged this style of teaching. I love going from abstract to concrete learning. It can be uncomfortable at first, but once the students get on board, solid learning.”
“Any time a parent would request me for a sibling of a previous student. It doesn’t get better than that. This would happen in Phoenix at larger schools. I would always end up getting my best results with the so-called troubled sibling. Double achievement.”
“My motto is: There’s always a way. This may mean needing to ask for support or help, even if you’re an adult.”
DID YOU KNOW?
“I left a high paying job in fashion in New York City, with many, many perks, because I wasn’t challenged enough mentally daily. I happened to be volunteering at an afterschool program and was reminded that I loved working with kids.”