ORRINGTON – An energetic teacher in Roy Allen’s childhood was such a good influence that he decided to follow in her footsteps.
“I saw it could be fun and decided to be a teacher,” the principal said Wednesday from his new office at Center Drive School.
Allen, 48, was hired in June, succeeding James White who worked in Orrington for 21 years and retired in the spring.
Allen started July 1 after resigning as assistant principal and athletic director at Leonard Middle School in Old Town, a job he had held since 1998.
“I loved Old Town – the staff there,” Allen said, adding that it was hard to leave a dedicated and innovative educational team.
White’s good reports about Center Drive School led Allen to apply for the job. The two met several times during conferences or other school-related meetings over the years.
“He was always talking about how great Orrington is,” Allen said.
Since Allen began at Center Drive, he has felt at home.
“I haven’t felt like the odd man out,” he said. “Everybody has come in and said, ‘Hello. You have a great staff.’ They’ve been real friendly.”
Allen traces his professional roots to his fifth-grade class, where he was so taken with the energy and sense of excitement from the teacher that he decided to become a teacher himself.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in secondary education English from the University of Maine in Farmington in 1981 and took additional courses at the University of Maine in Orono to earn his elementary certificate in 1985.
He started teaching at Leroy H. Smith Elementary School in Winterport and after a year took a teaching principal’s job in Exeter, a post he held for six years.
In 1988, Allen took a four-year break from teaching and used the time to see if he wanted to run the family business, Allen’s Electric.
“I missed education,” he said.
Between 1993 and 1998, Allen was again a teaching principal, this time at the Airline Community School in Aurora, while he earned his master’s degree in educational leadership at UM.
After getting his master’s in 1998, he was hired to fill a temporary job in Old Town that turned into the full-time post he held for the last seven years.
Now that he is in Orrington, one of Allen’s first goals is to get the school’s Web site up and running.
“If you’re going to have it, you need to keep it up to date,” he said. “I want to create something people can use.”
He is looking forward to school starting.
“I’m ecstatic,” he said. “I can’t wait for it to begin.”
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